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Rafa Benitez addresses the Mitrovic and Gayle partnership issue once again

4 years ago
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It is two games and two wins since last Friday..but once again the question of playing Aleksandar Mitrovic alongside Dwight Gayle, is put to Rafa Benitez.

Six points banked, five goals scored and only one conceded, yet the Serbian question is still being asked.

No doubt we will see 99%  of teams suggested by Newcastle fans, featuring both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Seven days ago, Rafa made clear (see below) before the Brentford game that he has no intention of playing the two strikers together.

The United boss saying back then, that he wants to play a second striker/attacking midfielder such as Mohamed Diame because that means they can control the middle of the pitch better. Rafa conceding that you might score more goals by playing two out and out forwards such as Gayle & Mitrovic but that the negatives far outweighed that.

Friday lunchtime the Newcastle Manager faced the media again and when asked about Mitrovic possibly getting a game, made absolutely clear yet again, that it was a case of playing one or the other, not both.

Benitez saying ‘Mitrovic knows that Dwight is scoring goals and he has to keep going and wait for his chance’.

The United boss saying all the right things about Mitrovic, that he is working harder in training, getting more mature, and has realised he has to do more to now get into the team.

Of course you could also take this as meaning that the former Anderlecht striker was immature and not putting in enough effort in training before!

With 11 goals in 11 matches at a rate of 87 minutes per goal and seven of them in the last four matches, unless he feels Dwight Gayle needs a rest, it will be the Englishman and not the Serbian playing the sole striking role for Newcastle – and certainly not the pair of them together.

Rafa Benitez Friday 21 October (Pre-Ipswich match):

“We trained yesterday (Thursday) and afterwards we had an extra finishing session with him (Aleksandar Mitrovic) and some other players.

“He is a good professional and he wants to be (as) fit (as possible), he wants to train harder.

“He knows that Dwight is scoring goals and he has to keep going and wait for his chance.

“I think every day he gets more mature and he has realised how difficult it is to get into a team that is doing well.

“He needs to keep working, improve little things, and now he is open to doing all of these things.

“He wants to play and it is good that he has the commitment and passion – positive for the team as well.”

Rafa Benitez Friday 14 October (pre-Brentford match):

“Can you control the game,  control the midfield, without this second striker?

“You might be more dangerous with two strikers but you then have less power and control in the middle.It is not a question of only scoring goals…

“He is not a proper number ten and we know that – but he is someone who is doing a great job and he has the legs to go into the wide areas or around behind defenders and to create spaces for others.

“Sometimes when you analyse, you see different things, sometimes you need maybe someone to be running to create the space for others, or maybe defending behind the striker to allow him to score goals and be physically rested.

“So you have to have a balance and sometimes it is not what he is doing with the ball but what he is doing for the team.”

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