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.”

Get West London match ratings:

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.”

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  • ghostrider

    Let’s put it all into simple terms.
    Rafa Benitez is making excuses for the reasons why he didn’t play Mitrovic.

    His excuses hold no real water…at all.
    I’d accept it if he said he simply didn’t want Mitrovic playing because Mitrovic is a bully of defenders and could easily be sent off as well as just as easily holding the ball up for players in an attacking role.

    The fact that he can defend set pieces is a part and parcel of his game and any managers set up with big strikers.

    The issue is in wanting Mitrovic on the back foot and leaving him flagging when a breakaway ensues, which Benitez will basically not tolerate in his system.

    He can harp on about being the most attacking and best team in the championship all he wants but it was still built on the same kind of principles…only he got away with it due to the opposition not being able to cope…because the opposition was championship standard and we had a better than championship standard outfit.

    Benitez dropped the ball and will not back down nor admit to it.
    Using Mitrovic in the right way would have had us comfortable right now, I believe…and leaving it to the rest to fight relegation.

    • Thomas Tonel

      Exactly!!! The only part that I disagree with you is, we DO need a bully of defenders. I would take Mitro bullying defenders and risking red card over Joselu, Gayle, Ayoz anemic, no passion, no guts, no balls type of playing any DAY. Lets put it simple, he just does not fit into Rafa’s defensive minded system, thats all. Mitro is a good player, 4-3-3 system in Fuhlam suits him perfectly. The time will tell, I hope he is back with us, but I doubt it.

      • ghostrider

        That’s what I mean about him bullying defenders. Any fan would love it but Rafa is scared of it.

        • Miroljub Lovadinov

          WELL SAID ghostrider & TT
          Mitro is born scorer . He will score in any league .I am sad he is not in his boyhood team but as long as he’s tearing apart nets on regular basis , he is very good for Serbia , we could not care less for RB .

          • Coach Clagnut

            Oy, Miraljub…don’t vote yourself up,It’s unbecoming. Funnily enough, we couldn’t give a shyt how Serbia fares at the W.C.
            You turned in all your war criminals yet?

          • Ram Kishore

            Which is his boyhood team?

        • Ram Kishore

          Each manager has a preference ghost.. and just like u said he sets up different.. no point in Blame gaming Rafa each and every time Mitro scores..

          • ghostrider

            I’m not blaming Rafa every time Mitro scores.
            I’m blaming Rafa for what he does with what he uses..as and when he deserves it, just like I’ll praise him if he does something that makes more sense.

      • len robson

        I think with Gayle running away with being leading goal scorer in the Championship last season(with Rafa) and was in line to score a goal a game for the season till his hamstring went, I would have picked him this season ahead of Mitro knowing he will not lose his head.

    • Anita kick up the Hoop

      Rafa is a stats man … anyone who watched us in the championship however knows we weren’t an attacking side .. we just had a better squad to start with, spent more money than anyone else by far and had the few quality players in key positions that made the difference in most matches … that’s not the same as being the best atracking team … it ultimately proved effective though … and so it should have.

      • Wor Monga

        Every professional manager uses stats and that’s why they’re collected, but if they don’t know how to use the stats to their best advantage then they will never get the best out of their playing staff…

        …and they’ll likely end up with an under-performing team when it matters…Rafa put together a team of virtually unknown quantities, young inexperienced players, etc to replace some high valued ‘stars’, and he won the challenge facing us which was promotion…

        …his team scored the most goals, had the lowest scored against us, and finished with the best goal difference…even though his highest priced forward who had 11starts (+25 apps) only gave him a paltry 4 goals…

        …even a blind man in a coal hole at midnight could see a ‘tiny’ problem with that player in a successful system!!!

    • Wor Lass

      It`s so good that you`re always there to tell us what Rafa really means. Thanks.

      • ghostrider

        your welcome.

        • Coach Clagnut

          Whoosh!!!!!!!

          • Miki Simo

            Coach, get out of Rafas ass

          • Coach Clagnut

            Another one. Not as if we don’t have enough. C’mon then lill Miki, give us your pearls if wisdom?

          • ghostrider

            Billy Whizz.

    • Coach Clagnut

      Learn to distinguish excuses from reasons if your birdbrain has the capacity.

      • ghostrider

        You make me smile.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I expect Mitrovich to keep scoring & if Fulham don`t buy him it`s a nign on certainty someone will.
    then Fatso will pocket the money.
    The die is cast, Newcastle won`t be spending at long as the Pigs at Nufc

    • Mark Potter

      We’ve been spending on new players for more than 10 years. Every single member of the first team playing squad except Dummett, and even he is not free – someone pays his wages.

      • Coach Clagnut

        Truly, an opinion to be cherished.

    • Jezza

      Not one penny of the Mitrovic fee will be re-invested. The best we can hope for is that if Mitro goes for a big enough fee, Fatso might just let us keep Lascelles for another season or at least till January 19.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Great result yesterday no doubt but can someone tell Ronnie we are still in a relegation scrap and haven’t just won The Champions League….thank you.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      😂😂😂

    • Coach Clagnut

      They have crystal balls mate. Gypsy Lee Ryder.

      • Peaky Magpie

        “Gypsy Lee Ryder”…..an absolute classic….😂😂

    • molend

      Yet!

      • Peaky Magpie

        Love your optimism,hope I’m still around to see it happen….

        • molend

          What’s the matter, kidder? Feeling a bit under the weather? (Sorry, I’ll get me coat).
          As Churchill said to a reporter who hoped to see him the next year: ‘I don’t see why not, young man. You look perfectly healthy to me’.

  • Wor Monga

    Reading on here it seems like there’s some serious woodentops out there that still haven’t had the penny drop for them…

    …as a football manager Rafa stands or falls by the players he puts his faith in, and like it or not Mitrovic wasn’t one of them…because he wasn’t prepared or able to put the hard yards in, that was needed in training, to convince him that he’d break enough sweat for the team when it mattered most, in matches…

    …now I’m sure that if there’s any of the ‘Mitrovic fan club’ out there who’ve actually coached teams to win the Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup, La Liga etc, etc and been PL manager of the month on numerous occasions…then I’m sure that Rafa (and also the 50,000+ of us who keep the faith in him) would be happy to take your comments on board, but if not…

    …you’ll just have to eat your hearts out!!!

    • Geordiegiants

      Well said for once.

    • Mike Adam

      And we will, thanks. Nobody is saying they know more than Benitez, we just have opinions we choose to express on here, that is our right as fans Monga and everyone else. It is no different than you expressing your opinions. Doesn’t make us right or wrong, they are just opinions.

      • Geordiegiants

        Opinions and critising Rafa constantly are two different things.

        • Mike Adam

          So you say. If the manager does something that I don’t agree with I have the right as a fan to express my opinion and discuss it with other fans, period. It doesn’t matter if you or anyone else like it or not. I can agree with the manager and I can disagree with manager doesn’t put me on the right side or the wrong side. You and others want to make us out to be enemies if we dare question the manager and that is your opinion. All we are is fans with different views(opinions) who support the same club.

          • Geordiegiants

            So what more do you expect Rafa to do, or where else do you expect Newcastle to be in terms of league position?

          • Coach Clagnut

            Ask the trolls who they’d prefer as manager. See if you have any luck.

          • Geordiegiants

            It’s pointless they come up with stupid ideas. I will keep saying this, SBR was hounded our of this club by the same sort of people. You would think they would of learnt their lesson.

          • Mike Adam

            Of course, every idea different from yours or Rafa’s is stupid, listen to yourself.

          • Mark Potter

            Rafa is the manager. And Mitro isn’t a Newcastle player. He can’t be our starting striker if we don’t hold his registration. That boat has sailed, more than a month ago. And your still crying about it. It’s time to stop grieving and celebrate the success we have enjoyed since the window closed.

          • Coach Clagnut

            If only there was a way to penetrate their tin-foil helmets.

          • anyobrien

            Deafening silence . . They have gone very very quiet… But I’m sure they will be wetting themselves at the possibility we may not win against Huddersfield.

          • Mike Adam

            All I think is that first, Mitro should be our starting striker. Second that Rafa’s conservative and defensive tactics have cost us a few points. Third, I don’t believe in playing for goal difference. If those opinions are an agenda or I am a moron or a troll or whatever, then so be it. Other than that I am just a NUFC supporter like you and everyone else, I just have different views. I do not understand why that is so wrong in some people’s eyes.

          • Mark

            That goal difference is looking like an extra point at the moment. As for your opinion on having more points if we had been more attacking you probably need to analyse the games to give some evidence, also to make that statement is conjecture as we would never know. Last five games – won 2 drawn 2 lost one, what more do you want from this team and thats after Mitro left.

          • Ram Kishore

            What u said here is nice and I respect but after each and every goal Mitro scores for Fulham (despite us winning and doing well after the Jan Window without him) and even after the win against Saints.. Few here just keep on bragging and (whatever u guys do ) moaning that Rafa made a blunder with Mitro..
            Mitro..Mitro.. just let it go..
            And Mitro is not our starting striker because he’s playing for Fulham..and we move on..
            Everyone would have backed up your opinion had our results gone bad.. Our results are fine for now..so let’s move on

          • Mike Adam

            Ram, I am not really worried about us being relegated. I really believe that there are at least 4 teams that are not our equal, of course anything can happen when you are anywhere close to the bottom three. My prediction is three of West Brom, Stoke, Southampton(unfortunately IMO) and Huddersfield.
            Listen, of course I am excited about the win, but our strikers still do not score and we gave up 63% of the possesion, so what we did on the counter was incredible.
            I am not looking for people to back me up, the 3 things I stated are just what I believe regardless of results.
            You can only move on from Mitro as far as this season. He is still owned by NUFC and therefore an interest to many fans, especially when he is scoring and our strikers are not.
            Finally, my biggest problem is that Rafa played Joselu so much when in my opinion, he cannot do the things Mitro can do. Mitro has great hold up play, can pass, he was third on our team last year in assists only 2 behind the team leader in one-third the playing time. IMO Mitro can do everything as good or better than Joselu and was never given a run. That is my main problem.

          • Geordiegiants

            Have a read about what Jose said about that same statistic when they beat Liverpool.

          • Mike Adam

            Have not read it. I know possesion isn’t everything, if that is what he talks about.
            My problem is that we have been shut out 12 times, if I counted right. Our strikers do not score, yet our manager continued to play the same strikers over and over expecting different results while having another option on the bench. Even Saviet got a start, but not Mitro.

      • anyobrien

        I expressed my opinion and you told me to stop complaining and coming on regarding the mitro debate
        Make ya mind do up

        • Mike Adam

          No I never used those words, you said, “It is . . Draining tbh” agreeing with Jezza about how these articles were tedious. I simply suggested to you that if they drain you and they are too long and tiresome that you should not read the articles and stay off the discussion feeds. You are certainly entitled to your opinion as I am mine, so I do not have stop getting to the mitro debates, because it has not drained me nor will it ever.

          • Coach Clagnut

            You don’t have an opinion….you have an agenda.

          • Mike Adam

            Really, what is it please fill me in. All I have is the opinion that Alexandar Mitrovic should be our starting striker. You and certain others think you know everything, or at least act like it. Knowone on here knows me, yet you say I have an agenda and call me names for having opposing views.

          • Coach Clagnut

            Ok. You’ve made your point on numerous occasions but you don’t seem to understand he’s no longer at the club and unavailable for selection. If that’s passed you by well you haven’t been paying attention. If you have been paying attention then you’re too stupid to realise your rants will make not the slightest difference to the remainder of the season.
            You’re a one trick pony on a crusade to nowhere.

          • Mike Adam

            He is at the club, still owned by NUFC. And taht is why myself and many others continue to have interest and question his loaning out. That is part of sports my friend and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. If you don’t like what my opinions are then don’t read the discussions, it is that easy. There it is, name calling, what does that make you sir??? So I am a one trick pony on a crusade to nowhere. That is some great figurative language, but again I will ask, what is my crusade exactly?

          • Coach Clagnut

            Trying to sway the opinion that Benitez is unfit to manage the club. You forget?
            Your persistent ramblings on Mitro are moot. We may still have him registered..own him huh…but, and I’ll say this slowly..w e…c a n ‘ t p l a y
            h i m.. h e ‘ s a t F u l h a m.
            Capice?

          • anyobrien

            😂 😂

          • Coach Clagnut

            You need to re-read your posts. You bang on about Rafa not playing Mitro and that’s about the only thing you write. Single subject contributor.
            Most sane people would conclude there’s an agenda when it’s all you blather on about ad nauseum.

          • anyobrien

            Cool

          • Mike Adam

            Exactly

          • anyobrien

            😂 😂 I

    • anyobrien

      Very well put but I believe if your sick if hearing the mitro blah blah fest you have to keep quiet 🤫

    • Mike Adam

      Obviously many of us have differing opinions about Mitro, and that is fine. Why is it so wrong for the Mitro supporters to think that Bentitez MAY have made a mistake about him. It won’t be his first mistake in football and it won’t be his last. Some of you come at us because we like Mitro as a striker, from the perspective of Rafa could not have made a mistake and he has done this and done that in football. That is all well and good, but he could have made a mistake when it comes to Mitro. Nobody knows, only time will tell. One day we will know, but in the meantime WE ARE ALL just NUFC supporters who want the club to be as successful as possible. Why do we need to treat each other disrespectfully while having a simple discussion where we have opposite opinions? I am not saying you treated anyone with disrespect with your comment above Monga, This is just a simple appeal to everyone to remember that we are on the same side and just have differing opinions, and if some of us question the manager there is nothing wrong with that, just as some of you who support everthing he does without question. Howay the lads!!!

      • Coach Clagnut

        You’re not a supporter you’re an agenda troll. Well, you may support the mancwank as you hate Rafa with a passion or you may be a cheesychip scoffer but you are not a N.U.F.C. fan or supporter.

        • Mike Adam

          And you know that how??? All you do is call names what does that make you??? What is my agenda? So what if I disagree with the manager from time to time! Other than that, what is my agenda?

          • Coach Clagnut

            Shifting the narrative. True fans on here discuss multiple areas of the game and the players involved. You and your aliases are only interested in trying to undermine Benitez with your juvenile and unhinged ranting.
            Go on, prove me wrong. Let’s hear your opinions on who you’d like to see manage instead of Rafa. Discuss the merits of yesterday’s win. Talk about the defence. How you see Fatty’s stewardship of the club.
            I’ll wait for the tumblweed blowing by.

          • Mike Adam

            I have no aliases and challenge you to prove otherwise. I comment on the content of the articles that are written. Questioning the manager is something done every single day in every single sport in every single country in the world. Sports fans have different opinions, it is not an agenda, agendas are what politicians have. I am simply a NUFC fan with opinions different from yours, so deal with it. I was no able to see yesterday’s game because my son was home from college and we were doing other things, imagine that, football is not the only thing that matters in life.

          • anyobrien

            You should of made the effort great team performance. 👍

          • Coach Clagnut

            From time to time you say. That’s all you do. You add nothing to any other discussion but can’t wait to slag off Benitez whenever any artyicle brings up Mitro.

        • Jezza

          He is Fleckman/Clarko/ghostbuster etc under of of his lesser used alternative ID’s.

          • Coach Clagnut

            Of course he is Jezza. Another snide needing confronting.

        • theoriginalbomberman

          Yes because to go against Lord Benitez is to go against united. You sound like a cult leader. No wonder people go out of their way to bring up his mistakes when there’s so called fans like you who go out of your way to put him on a pedestal and act like he’s above critique or even the club at times. Are you a Benitez fan or a united fan? Just because you dislike the manager doesn’t mean your not a supporter.

          • Coach Clagnut

            Sadly, in this case it does. You name me one manager you’d prefer at this point time to manage the club. You’re all great at slagging off what you perceive to be his shortcomings but you never offer an alternative who could do the job, under the circumstances, better than Benitez is doing.
            F.Y.I. i’m a N.U.F.C.supporter/fan/loveofmylife/ first & foremost and a Benitez fan every day of the week. If you can’t see what he brings to the club, under the most odious of owners, you don’t seem to appear to the point.

          • Jezza

            Is 13th place in the Premiership with no money to spend on players not good enough for you?

          • Guest 2

            Mate, admit the obvious fact. Rafa is THE club at the present time. Without him then the outcome should be obvious to anyone with more than a single brain cell.
            Or perhaps you believe Ashley and his bandwagon of embarrassing appointments have done us all a service for the past 11 years?

  • Mxpx

    I see this becoming very tribalist I think it’s very simple though we have a proper striker on our hands something we’ve been searching for since demba ba left really albeit we had one on loan who made it clear he didn’t really want to play for us for a season shouldn’t we just be glad we have a proper striker and start looking at how to get the best out of him

    • TheNutJob

      he has no future at Newcastle as long as Rafa`s the manager

      • Jezza

        He’s got no future at Newcastle because Ashley is already rubbing his hands at the thought of selling him for a fat pile of cash in the summer.

        • Mark Potter

          Then he’s a year later than his manager and the club’s Director, who tried to sell Mitro last summer, then again in January. The fact that only one team were even prepared to bid for him, and little more than half what we paid, tell’s its own story. So hopefully Rafa will finally be able to sell him in the summer. Getting offered a “fat pile of cash” is certainly an advantage when you are the selling club. Why is that a problem to you?

          • nufcslf

            Cashley has the say on ins and outs not the manager. Not a chance in hell
            Rafa would have not strengthened in January with his own say. Cashley only wants outs at a profit anyway. Joke club under the fatman and needs to go otherwise all transfer talk is a waste of time.

          • Mark Potter

            There is no evidence for that statement, and plenty of evidence (including statements given under oath by several people) the opposite way. Rafa himself has said that he decides the players he wants.

          • Guest 2

            What, like the statement Ashley has no say in how the club is ran and leaves it to the ‘Board’? The Board consists of —-Lee Charnley!
            It was Ashley and Charnley before the epic failure of the Charnley, McClaren, Carr & Moncur Board. That’s how this club is ran – with the odious little oik doing his masters bidding.

  • Mrkgw

    Bring him back Rafa. Nothing gained if he is sold.

    • relaxed

      Ha ha
      Try telling fatso that, he will be in the counting house now working the fiddle out

      • GToon

        Yep. Laschelles, Merino and Mitro. Those three will get him over £50m I would say. Add that to the tv money and Ashley has just about got enough to go to the pub and the casino after. Win win.

  • GToon

    I would hope from those comments that Rafa is going to give him another chance if his form meets Rafa’s requirements. Hopefully it will.

  • BinTanG

    Hello Bintang here.. has anyone considored the fact Mitro is a young lad.. some people need to realise that it takes some longer to mature.. If rafa has the paitence? We will see that at the end of May. by analysing Mitro and meeting him once at the metro centre.. and having some psychological education.. i can say he does not have a high IQ level. He is in a foreign country.. english is his second language.. and a little slow. However he does have what it takes to be a premier league striker. That maybe my opinion.. but my opinion also is that he will grow he will mature and he will thrive.. once he clicks he will be on fire.. watch out for him in the world cup…
    Mitiro’s goals Alone for his home country Serbia got them qualified for the world cup.
    Which proves he is an International striker
    ( with goals)
    He is scoring at the lower level too.. so why hasnt he performed in the premier league? Isit the manager? Could be..
    There is two powerful personalities in Rafa and Mitro. Personality clashes or Ego’s dont go well with the most respected of managers.
    However Mitro is yound and nothing compared to the class and experience of Rafa.
    If Rafa gives him some love like Alex Furgusan did to his Players.. And be a father figure to him. And if Mitro lets rafa in.. Rafa will make him into champions league striker..
    its all about paitent..
    Rafa has world class experience.. he has access to world class medical team including psychiatrists and sports Psychologists.
    Maybe he already knows he may not develop into a world class player..
    maybe he will? Who knows?
    Its a gamble.. sometimes u win or sometimes you see in 3-5 years time he is doing very well for another team.. and say to yourself we should have kept him…

  • Nut

    Mitrovic came as a 21 year old, whilst he had taken the Belgian league by storm at the time we still had Cisse and others for the burden of main scorer to to fall on, unfortunately Cisse got injured and Mitrovic/Perez had to play as our main strikers for much of the season.

    Really Mitrovic would have been served far better with a season in the championship to ease him into the English game then.

    Unfortunately Mitrovic under Rafa has fallen foul in part due to his on field antics but mainly I think for the very reason Jokanovic points out which is that he has at Fulham a team playing for him!

    Simply put Benitez teams are rarely if ever one man teams where a team plays / is set up to get the best of a player.

    He wants 11 men fighting on the pitch and playing as a team, Mitrovic has not done himself any favours by being sent off on multiple occasions and not putting his all into training.

    Hopefully if he shows after a half season in the championship he can score goals prolifically there when in the right setup then Benitez might give him a spare thought.

    Still even then while he does make trouble for sides there is no guarantee he will take the same scoring form into the premier league, it’s a different beast.

    I like Mitrovic don’t get me wrong but he lacks pace, he doesn’t push hard enough in training from the sounds of things and he misses alot of chances in the premiership.

    Hopefully time in the championship will help bring him up to speed and next season he manages to convince Rafa to give him a chance, I would love to see him leading our line as he is evidently passionate, however it would seem that proclaimed love for Newcastle can easilly be switched to who ever he is playing for.

    Time will tell……..

  • MadMag83

    Genuinely pleased for the lad, great to see him scoring goals. Still not sure he has a future at Newcastle though while Rafa is here because he doesn’t fit his system. Mitrovic is doing well in a team that plays to his strengths, whereas I believe Benitez likes his players to play to strict instructions that don’t play to his strengths as much. Maybe he’ll come back in the summer and things will have changed, who knows.