Ex-Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan believes Rafa Benitez was backed by the owners in the summer, despite the Newcastle manager's insistence otherwise.
Nolan, 35, spent two and a half seasons at Newcastle since joining from Bolton in 2009, helping them achieve instant promotion following relegation.
Rafa Benitez also had such a deja vu experience in his first few months in charge. The Spaniard was unable to steer the club away from relegation for the second time in seven years, but returned at the first attempt.
The former Liverpool manager has frequently stated the lack of financial support received by owner Mike Ashley, believing a top-ten finish to be an uphill task.
Nolan, now manager for Notts County, is not convinced the fewer resources are the main reason or indeed true.
Speaking to Sky Sports News (via the Chronicle), the former midfielder said: "Rafa played on it a lot in the early months of the season.
"It seemed it was more about Rafa Benitez, than the team at the time. When they got over that they got a few results and got a bit of a mentality and a winning run going. Now, it's turned over because they have lost four on the spin."
Since beating Crystal Palace in October, the Magpies have since lost four of their last five matches against Burnley, Bournemouth, Manchester United and Watford.
"And I think he always tries to bring out a few bits to remind people 'We're not supposed to be here'. Listen, he's spent a lot of money on that squad last year and this year.
"He's probably spent a lot more money than his rivals have, so, for me, with the way they are up there, with the expectancy of the crowd and the town and what goes up there, he might be trying to kid them a bit, and make sure they don't get on his back too early."
Despite torrid form in the last few weeks, Newcastle sit 12th in the table, but face the daunting task of trying to get a result at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.