Rafa Benitez update on 4 injured players v Cheltenham
Rafa Benitez has been reflecting on an eventful night at St James Park.
If you have just picked up on the scoreline and know nothing about the match, you might just think it was a regulation two goal win for a team two levels higher than their opponents.
Having scored either side of half-time that was the football side of things taken care of, although it had been a scruffy first-half with few if any decent chances for Newcastle.
However, it was the injury count that occupied Rafa Benitez’ mind after the game, diluting the pleasure of a decent second half display and progress to the third round of the League Cup.
Some fans have jokingly compared last night to Platoon, or the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, with at one point supporters wondering if NUFC had had to send round to the RVI for an extra supply of bandages.
Rolando Aarons was stretchered off in the first half, then Mitrovic followed after picking up a head injury.
His replacement Dwight Gayle then followed him with a head injury of his own, after having set up Perez for his and United’s second.
The fact double goalscorer Ayoze Perez was also sporting a bandage for his own head injury when he scored the two goals, kind of sums the night up.
Rafa has now updated on the four injuries and the good news is that after speaking to the three who suffered head injuries, the manager they should all be ok for the visit of Brighton on Saturday.
However, Rolando Aarons left St James Park in a protective boot last night and the outlook doesn’t look positive, Rafa saying he is waiting to hear from the club doctor but that it looks the most serious of the injuries picked up against Cheltenham.
Rafa Benitez after Newcastle 2 Cheltenham 0:
“Really pleased with the result but we’re disappointed with the injuries, three concussions, though I don’t think they will be a problem.
“I spoke to them all at the end of the game and they were feeling better, hopefully they are all ok for Saturday.
“We were trying to protect Dwight Gayle because he had played the last few games and Mitrovic needed match fitness but we had to change it around quickly.
“We won and hopefully they will be fine, though we are really upset for Rolando.
“He has a problem with his foot so we will have to wait to see what the doctor says, this is the most serious of the injuries.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Cheltenham 0
Newcastle: Perez 45, 47
Possession was Cheltenham 37% Newcastle 63%
Total shots were Cheltenham 9 Newcastle 15
Shots on target were Cheltenham 5 Newcastle 6
Corners were Cheltenham 3 Newcastle 5
Team: Darlow, Sterry, Hanley, Lascelles, Gamez, Shelvey, Colback, Aarons (Gouffran 24), Perez, Diame, Mitrovic (Gayle 38 (Anita 59))
Unused Subs: Sels, Hayden, Dummett, Mbemba
Referee: Steve Martin
To read instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to the Cheltenham match go HERE.
To view the fans’ interactive player ratings for last night and to add your own go HERE.
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