Rafa Benitez thinks he is a lucky man.
When asked about strikers Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle, the United boss said on Friday lunchtime ‘When you have one player scoring goals it is fantastic. When you have two, it is even better’.
Obviously knowing full well the constant debate and clamour for the two forwards to play together, Rafa acknowledged that ‘I agree with the fans…that both are very good players’.
The United boss when talking about the possible partnership, rather than using a second striker/midfielder, repeated a theme he had used previously, saying ‘maybe with both together on the pitch, the team could be stronger…but it is a maybe and at the moment we are doing well in the way we are playing now’.
Dwight Gayle has been training all week and whilst Rafa Benitez has again indicated he is wanting to make sure the player is fully recovered from his ‘little’ hamstring problem before considering playing him, for the first time the United boss has a real decision to make on who he plays up front.
Mitrovic has scored four goals in two games whilst Dwight Gayle has managed seven in his last four, no wonder Rafa says that ‘as a manager, you have to be really pleased’.
“We know it is a team (Cardiff) that has changed a little bit, they have a manager with great experience in the Championship and we expect a tough game.
Everyone knows they are improving: their attitude, their motivation, they won against Nottingham Forest and did really well.
“I am sure that he (Neil Warnock) will be wanting to play in front of our 52,000 fans and he will have a plan.
“He is clever, he will try to stop us playing our football – they will try to play the type of football they want to play: maybe counter-attack, maybe pressing high.
“We have been working on different options and hopefully we can keep our level.
“Obviously Matt Ritchie (suspended for Cardiff match) is an important player for us but we have four or five players who can do well in his position.
“The competition is so good here, I can expect anyone – it could be Ayoze, Atsu, Yedlin playing higher or Anita to come in and do well.
“When you have one player scoring goals it is fantastic.
“When you have two, it is even better.
“The competition between them (Gayle & Mitrović) is really good for the team and talking with them, you can see both are really happy and they are training really well.
“As a manager, you have to be really pleased.
“Mitro has been really good last two games and hopefully he can continue scoring goals and I am sure that Gayle will do the same.
“I agree with the fans that both are very good players.
“Both can score goals and maybe with both together on the pitch, the team could be stronger…but it is a maybe and at the moment we are doing well in the way we are playing now.
“We are doing well and we would like to carry on in the same way, but you cannot change what happens.
“You have an international break and for some players, it will be good as they can maybe have some minutes.
“For those who stay here – they can rest and be ready for the next game after 15 days. It is something you cannot change and you have to accept it is like this.”