Back home in Serbia, Aleksandar Mitrovic has admitted that he didn’t know what was happening when Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle United club doctor had to physically restrain him from getting back onto the pitch, for the final stages of the Sunderland match.
After being knocked unconscious for a few seconds after a class of heads, Mitrovic has told the Serbian media that he knew he had to come off the pitch but didn’t realise that it meant that for his own safety he couldn’t be allowed back into the action.
Mitrovic says that when it was explained to him afterwards, he went and saw the NUFC club doctor for his behaviour on the touchline.
The striker has met up with his Serbian team-mates in advance of friendlies against Poland and Estonia, as Serbia try to recover from a disastrous Euros qualifying campaign for France.
On a happier note, since the incident against Sunderland, Mitrovic says he has been extensively examined by medical staff and there are no lasting effects.
“I did not know what the procedure is, I did not know the rules.
“I apologised to the doctor after the game, because I (now) know that I had come off after being unconscious for a few seconds I was unconscious.
“I have (now) been examined and my the head is fine.”
Failing to qualify for the 2016 Euros in France:
“We had a problem with the fans and with UEFA, and we have failed ourselves. Now we have to play hard from the first match and we have to change our mentality and approach to matches.”
Serbia play on Wednesday against Poland in Poznan, and March 29 against Estonia in Tallinn.
“It may not be easy but from the first match we have to play for passage to the World Cup (in Russia 2018)…every game we have to understand as crucial.
“Poland has a good team of players from high quality leagues, it is a good rival to see where we are. We should use both games to begin preparations for (World Cup) qualifying. I hope that this could be a new beginning.”