A two week break looked ideal for Rafa Benitez to get Islam Slimani just right to make his debut at Bournemouth.
However, on Friday afternoon the United boss has revealed that the striker has once again broken down in training.
Sky Sports reported earlier this month that Slimani had been Rafa’s fourth or fifth choice to bring in and the Spaniard brought the Leicester striker in on the final day of the window, knowing he already was carrying a thigh injury.
Rafa Benitez summing up the folly of not landing your first choice targets earlier when saying ‘When you go to deadline day, it is always a risk’.
Rafa says that Islam Slimani will definitely miss ‘at least a couple of weeks’, so that will mean Bournemouth and Liverpool definitely and Southampton in two weeks time must surely be out as well.
The following match is scheduled to be Spurs away but if they beat Rochdale at home it will be postponed, which would then give Slimani another three weeks without a match to get fit, after the international break Newcastle are at home to Huddersfield on Saturday 31 March.
Assuming Spurs do with their cup replay, it would mean Slimani being available (if fit for Huddersfield) for seven of the remaining games at the very most, as he can’t play against Leicester either.
Just as well we beat Man Utd or this would have been crippling for the spirits of Newcastle fans.
However, whilst attack may not be our biggest strength, that win over Man Utd showed that a real team performance can still deliver.
You have to really feel for Rafa Benitez as he is repeatedly left with more and more obstacles in his path due to Miek Ashley undermining him.
Rafa Benitez pre-Bournemouth press conference:
“Slimani had a setback so he will not be available and will be (out for) at least a couple of weeks.
“He had an injury when he came, (now) a setback in training, and we will have to deal with that.
“When you go to deadline day, it is always a risk.
“We did it and we have to manage the situation in the best way possible.
“Islam Slimani was positive and training really well but he felt this problem again.
“We have to make sure he is ok (before he plays).
“For teams at the bottom, every game is like a final. For us, for Bournemouth, it is a big test.
“We have to be sure that this one is an opportunity to get three points.
“As soon as you win a couple of games you go three or four places up the table.
(On Shelvey) “He did well (against Man Utd) and when he plays well, the team is playing better. He enjoys football. I’m really pleased with him.
“We have been talking about how Jonjo manages his game and how he manages his life.
“He loves football. He doesn’t miss training, he wants to see his teammates playing well.
“He has to control when he makes mistakes. He is focused and trying to do the right things.
(On Paul Dummett signing a new contract) “It’s important to have players you can trust.
“When you talk about Paul, sometimes he will be a nine out of ten. Sometimes a six. Always between those. You know that he will be there and will help the team.
“It’s important to understand that if you win (on Saturday), it’s fine but you have to keep fighting.
“If you lose, we have other games. We have to be calm. Three points would be massive for us, and massive for them.”