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Rafa Benitez says there is a problem with Gayle & Mitrovic but it’s a good one

5 years ago

Rafa Benitez admits that Aleksandar Mitrovic is giving him a headache.

However, the United boss says that it is a ‘good problem’ the Serbian striker is giving him.

The two goals that defeated Preston on Saturday, means that in their last seven starts, Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic have scored 11 goals between them.

Though of course none of those seven starts saw the two of them starting a game together…

There are two main views from Newcastle fans on the issue, with many supporters sympathetic to both at the same time.

One says why break a winning formula of playing just one striker as it is delivering goals and wins, whilst the other view is that by playing both Gayle and Mitrovic there would be even more goals scored and Newcastle able to dominate matches even more.

Rafa Benitez admits that on Saturday his team had to do well to defend for much of the match and that their quality when given the chance to counter-attack, was the difference between the two teams.

When talking about the ongoing debate of whether two strikers would be even better, Rafa says that he is quite happy with the way things are, if whoever he plays is scoring two goals each time.

The competition for places certainly seems to have brought the best out of Aleksandar Mitrovic, as it has done for many in the squad.

For years it has been a major weakness that so many players became complacent at Newcastle, as they knew they were guaranteed their place no matter how badly they played, with Mike Ashley not allowing the club to have a proper squad to enable competition.

Thankfully we now have a manager worthy of the name, who has been allowed to run the football side of things properly and amazingly it is working.

Fancy that.

Rafa Benitez:

“Aleksandar Mitrovic has given me a very good problem to have.

“We are really pleased because the team is growing and we knew that it would be a tough game.

“They have beaten some good teams and so we were ready for that and we’ve been working hard on defence.

“In the second half we were much better and had more space, more possibilities to counter attack – I think we did well.

“We did well to withstand their pressure and we used our quality to make the difference.

“We can see the team spirit growing and that is the main thing if you want to be strong, I’m really pleased with the team because we are doing so well away from home.

We showed great character, we did made mistakes but in the whole game we defended well and played the counter-attack we wanted to play.

“They were pushing and pushing, we were defending, in the end the main thing was to get the three points and we did it.

“We did well to withstand their pressure and we used our quality to make the difference.

“If they (Gayle and Mitrovic) score two goals, every time one of them plays, I’m not too worried about playing one at a time…

“He (Mitrovic) is doing well, he is working hard and when he is not playing he’s working even harder.

Against Preston, he was doing really well and he was doing what he has to do – he will improve, he will grow.

“When Gayle was scoring goals it is more difficult for a young player, a young striker, when you are not in the team.

“When you know that you can score goals like he did at Preston then it is difficult – but he was working hard and that is the way.”


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