Rafa Benitez was yet again asked about Aleksandar Mitrovic on Saturday.
Newcastle had just beaten Southampton 3-0 in a key relegation battle with a commanding performance, yet still the questions came.
Just imagine if Newcastle had collapsed after the transfer window closed…
Instead, despite some tricky fixtures, since January Newcastle have just the one defeat at Liverpool, picking up two wins and two draws for eight points from five games, which is at the very least upper mid-table form.
Aleksandar Mitrovic now has seven goals in his last five Championship matches, the seven goals coming in a 17 day period.
As Newcastle beat Southampton 3-0, Fulham were winning 2-1 at Preston with Mitro scoring both goals, just as he did in a 2-1 win for Newcastle last season, as well as scoring two against the same club in the League Cup.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic says Aleksandar Mitrovic is ‘doing a fantastic job’ for Fulham, plus he added that the ‘team is playing for him too’.
Recently, Mitrovic had said Newcastle’s style last season wasn’t very attacking and didn’t suit him as well as Fulham do now.
Rafa Benitez answered back on Saturday once again, saying nobody was more attacking than Newcastle last season.
Just a though but are maybe both of them right?
Slavisa Jokanovic after Mitro’s two goals v Preston:
“We know Aleksandar Mitrovic can help us, at the moment he is doing a fantastic job for us and the team is playing for him too.
“All the players, like Aleksandar, deserve to be satisfied and be happy with our performance.”
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Aleksandar Mitrovic 8:
“Wasn’t as involved in the game as he has been in previous matches in the first half.
“Much better in the second half with his hold-up play and got the two goals.”
Rafa Benitez yesterday:
“There are two ways to analyse this.
“One is – Mitrovic is scoring goals in the Championship.
“It’s good news for him and us.
“Two – Mitrovic is playing before the World Cup and he is our player.
“We then have to discuss his future in May.
“In May we will then see, and if he is doing well, then fine no problem.
“It is not about style…we were the best team in the Championship and had an offensive style.
“We scored 85 and conceded 40. We were the best team bar none.
“We had more shots on target than anyone else and we were second on crosses.
“So everything was there in place.
“We were an attacking team and Dwight Gayle got 23 goals, even with two months out injured.
“Nobody can complain about our attacking style, as we had Gayle, Ritchie and Atsu.
“You can see the numbers.”
Rafa Benitez asked about Aleksandar Mitrovic at start of February after the striker joined Fulham on loan:
“My relationship with him (Aleksandar Mitrovic) is fine.
“He is a nice lad.
“You pick your team and I don’t need to worry about my ego – I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego.
“My priority to win games and you pick your team thinking…’This is the best team for me’.
“It was clear that he wanted, and needed, to play games.
“Now he has an opportunity.
“Hopefully he will score 20 or 25 goals.
“We will be happy with that.
“He would have more value.
“He will come here and say…‘I am a new player and you have to trust me because I have scored 25 goals.’
“Fine, no problem.”