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Rafa Benitez explains how vital Dwight Gayle is to Newcastle United survival hopes

1 year ago
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Dwight Gayle is now joint top scorer for Newcastle United.

However, having two goals after 15 games wouldn’t have been the plan pre-season for Newcastle’s main hope for goals in the Premier League.

Injuries and fitness issues have hampered Dwight Gayle so far and the team’s 14 goals in 15 games illustrates the problems Newcastle have when it comes to goals.

The problem has been partly diluted due to the Rafa Benitez attention to detail in training, coming up with an effective strategy to score from set-pieces.

Centre-backs Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles are also joint top scorers due to set-piece goals and only a handful of players in the Premier League have more assists than Matt Ritchie’s five this season.

However, since his comeback Dwight Gayle has given both Rafa Benitez and the fans hope, in his four starts in the past month he had a goal wrongly disallowed against Bournemouth and the scored two well taken strikes against Man Utd and Chelsea.

To put it into perspective, these are the only two goals in open play in Newcastle’s last seven matches.

Rafa Benitez is under no illusions as to how important Gayle is, as Newcastle’s only natural finisher, the manager says that if the team creates chances then the number nine will score goals.

Much of scoring goals in the top tier is the ability to get in goalscoring positions.

With Mitrovic, Joselu and Perez having zero pace between them, Dwight Gayle is the only quick striker and so automatically is the only one capable of playing in the system Rafa Benitez prefers.

The United boss stating ‘If we don’t have the pace in the team we can’t be in there.’

Rafa Benitez:

“Dwight Gayle is a good finisher.

“If we have chances he can score goals.

“That is very clear for me.

“We are in the Premier League but have to realise our level.

“A lot of games we don’t have the possession or control and we have to play counter-attack.

“When we aren’t in the final third and the striker isn’t the quickest we then have to defend well and be strong to regain the ball.

“We can play counter-attack but can’t expect certain things from certain players.

“If we don’t have the pace in the team we can’t be in there.

When we talk about Mitro or Joselu they are different to Dwight.

“Dwight has pace and the others are big and win balls in the air.

“It makes a big difference.”

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