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Rafa Benitez asked if Ayoze Perez performance sends message to Mohamed Diame

4 years ago

Rafa Benitez was happy with another three points, three goals and clean sheet, as his players overwhelmed yet another Championship opposition.

Despite beating Barnsley in midweek, the United boss rotated yet again, with Yedlin, Colback and Perez, replacing Anita, Hayden and Diame.

With Ayoze Perez scoring twice, the first in the opening minute, to make it five goals this season in all competitions, predictably that selection choice dominated post-match debate for many fans.

Rafa Benitez was asked by the club’s own TV channel after the game, whether the performance of Perez had sent a message to Mohamed Diame that he had to step up and do the same if/when getting the chance.

Rafa chose not to answer the question directly and instead said that Perez for Diame was just part of a normal game’s selection change, as we have become used to this season.

The Manager saying that the same applies to every player, stating ‘They can play well and say ‘Listen, I want to play more games’ – but teammates are doing the same’.

Rafa Benitez also confirmed that as expected he will be making a number of changes for Tuesday night, the Manager saying he needs to play ‘fresh legs’ to enable the team to play with the same ‘high intensity’ as they did on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez talking to the club’s official TV channel:

“It was a great first half, we played good football, high tempo, created good chances and scored one goal – but had the chances to score more.

“More difficult at start of second half, they were pushing and pressing high, we needed to pass the ball better.

“Once we scored the second goal we had more control and then the team did really well.

“Very pleased because they scored three goals and at the same time we have another clean sheet – so all positive.

“The first goal was very important but to be fair we were on top of them. Our approach was very good but as I said before, not to score the second goal means a feeling that they could get something.”

‘Was it a big game for Ayoze Perez?’

“Yes, he as to do well. I try to keep the players competitive for positions so I think it is good because he scored two goals.”

‘So it sends a message to people like Mohamed Diame that when he gets his chance he has to do the same?’

Yes…but not just Ayoze, Colback was playing and Hayden had done well the other day, Atsu was playing well then Ritchie coming to the team.

“They can play well and say ‘Listen, I want to play more games’ – but teammates are doing the same.

“Whatever happens it has to be good for the team.”

Was one of the reasons you played Yedlin because you thought you could use his pace in attack with Ipswich defending so deep?’

“To be fair, we wanted to give him a chance because he was training well and we felt it was the time to rest Vurnon Anita.

“He did well – it was important for us to have full-backs going forward and with his pace he was creating problems.”

‘Play Preston twice now and they have just beaten Huddersfield and Norwich?’

“Every game is tough in this division because they are tough physically. Every game is demanding.

“For the Cup game we will change players, fresh legs to play with the same intensity.”

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Ipswich 0

Goals – 

Newcastle: Perez 1, 73, Ritchie 78

Possession was Ipswich 37% Newcastle 63%

Total shots were Ipswich 8 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Ipswich 2 Newcastle 5

Corners were Ipswich 3 Newcastle 6

Newcastle starting 11:

Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Gouffran (Atsu 75), Colback, Shelvey (Hayden 83), Perez, Gayle (Mitrovic 79)

Unused Subs:

Sels, Mbemba, Anita, Diame

Referee: James Adcock

Crowd: 51,963

(Read the reaction of Ipswich fans HERE)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s game HERE)


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