Do Rafa Benitez’s latest comments explain why he’s not been picking Aleksandar Mitrovic?

When speaking about Dwight Gayle’s goalscoring this week, Rafa Benitez has emphasised the importance of his strikers helping the team defensively and showing good movement – making us wonder if these are two traits he felt Aleksandar Mitrovic couldn’t offer us.

The Serbian joined Fulham on loan on deadline day after failing to start a single Premier League game all season and he’s found soem form in front of goal, scoring two in his last two in the Championship.

Many NUFC fans questioned why Rafa wasn’t playing a striker who seemed our best on paper earlier in the season, however Rafa’s latest comments perhaps help explain why.

Here’s what he’s had to say when speaking about Dwight Gayle’s recent brace at Bournemouth, admitting that he looks for much more than just goals from the striker he selects:

“It’s important for the strikers to score goals, but at the same time when the team doesn’t get much possession like us in the Premier League, they have to help the team defend too,” 

“They have to help the team with their movements.

“Sometimes the striker’s movements create space for other players.

“That’s what we have at the moment, players working very hard for the team and you don’t see them on the score-sheet sometimes but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing a great job for the team.”

Mitrovic may be a handful and a dangerous striker when given the service, but Benitez describes two things here that I feel he struggles to do – make clever and constant movements up top and work hard for the team.



His fitness levels from a lack of game time won’t have helped his cause for either when he played for us earlier on this season, however he isn’t the busy striker Joselu and Gayle are. He won’t constantly close down and isn’t the brightest of strikers when it comes to movement.

I may be wrong, but this could well offer some form of explanation as to why Mitrovic never really worked in Rafa’s system this season..

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

7 thoughts on “Do Rafa Benitez’s latest comments explain why he’s not been picking Aleksandar Mitrovic?

  1. Gayle offers nothing in defense or off the ball and these comments on movement creating space sounds more like mitro, Gayle is a ghost for 90% of the match. Im gettin sick of rafa’s negative tactics and comments, we only have less possession cause we let teams have it, against ManU we matched there possession till we scored. It’s rafa’s negative mindset, approach and tactics thats the reason for always poor possession. I always thought a manger should fill there players with confidence and belief that they can win and be the best they can, at the end of the day its 11 men against 11 and this team has got some good players with good determination and rafa’s negative tactics is letting them down.

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  2. Rafa uses what he has at his disposal in terms of playing talent. He’s cautious and builds from the back and the team we have at the moment plays a counter attacking game because we don’t have a wealth of attacking talent. I don’t see this as negative – just what we have to do to stay up. As for Mitro he offers absolutely no movement when I see him play. He’s not mobile and doesn’t look for the ball. I’ve said many times on different sites that I was at the Verona pre season game – our last pre season game and Mitro started. He had the shirt and should have gone out and showed Rafa why he deserved it. He was shocking – no movement, frankly lazy. I’ m off to Anfield tomorrow for a Rafa love-in – the Scousers love Rafa and so do those who understand what he’s doing. Some need a reality check and to appreciate what we’ve got in Rafa – the guy is a genius

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  3. I know we dont have the squad to compete with the big teams but he’s not gettin the best out of them and isnt no genus. He’s bought poorly and mitro was far better than the other two, aarons was better than any of our wingers including kenedy. It tuck him a season in a half to relies diame was a cm and imo richie doesn’t have the speed to be effective enough on the wing and Should be in the number 10. Ive never said Rafa was a bad manger or to sack him but i do have to question his tactics and decisions. I believe like most he could win something with us but it looks like he’l need 200m to give this team the confidence to win something and if we go down it was because we didnt score enough goals, so i know who il be blaming for that. Rafa doesn’t get what Newcastle fans want like kk or Sr Bobby did, the reason that is cause they were fans and were passionate about Football and Newcastle. Thats what i fell in love with about Newcastle and it pains me to see our manger make these mistakes.

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  4. I don’t see how anyone can say he’s bought poorly. Diame looks good now -he was played as a no. 10 because we didn’t have one. Lejeune nd Merino are class for what we paid – Clarke was a bargain as was Hayden. Atsu is a typical winger blows hot and cold but again cost nothing given the stupid prices paid now. Sure Murphy will be fine. I think Joselu was bought because Ashley wouldn’t give Rafa any money so it was him or nothing. Aarons better that all our wingers – come off it he’s had the odd decent game but isn’t good enough for this league. As I’ve said in my earlier post I don’t rate Mitro – Rafa doesn’t, Shearer doesn’t, Supermac doesn’t – all better judges than you or I IMO. Rafa certainly gets what the fans want – but Bobby and Keegan spent way more than Rafa has been given. Given money – and not a lot at Liverpool – this is the guy who bought Torres, Reina, Mascherano, Alonso – that side he built that came second in 2008 – 2009 was absolutely fantastic and that season were unlucky not to win the league. He’s a top class manager, the players all seem to love him and he’s improving average players. Oh and incidentally there is no way we are going down and that’s due to Rafa!

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  5. He brought Hayden, Murphy , Joselu, Manquillo and all the rest of shit that never played( or didnt get a chance) and there never going to be good enough for PL. He badly theated Mbemba, Mitro, Aarons and Colback, Which 4 is better? Or even compare Joselu n Manquillo to players he sold, Murphy, Anita who imo or shit but still better. He bought Merino, Richie, Lajeune and maybe Yedling was the only good signings, clark has been found out at this level, Gayle cant play the lone striker and Atsu is very average . You keep singing his name when we go down toondog , you’ll look like a idiot

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  6. Which 4 is better?? – Mitro not good enough and doesn’t do what Rafa wants him to, Aarons not good enough and Colback – my God if you rate him you know nowt.

    Clarke found out?? Until Rafa arrived we had Coloccini and Taylor as our central pairing. Our goals against at the moment i.e. how we are defending – is 38, only 7 teams have let in less goals than us – not bad for what you seem to think are shit players. Most of the player Rafa sold we couldn’t have kept – Sissoko / Wynaldum / Townsend / Janmaat all wanted out. Rafa bought Gayle to do a job which he did – can’t you see how hard is is to get good players to drop down into the Championship like Gayle and Richie did?

    I’ll keep singing his name, we’re not going down but it seems like you’d be happy if we did. You don’t rate the manager – think the players a shit and think we’ll go down. Boy you’re a great fan you mate.

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  7. Never said i didnt rate, i said he wasnt very positive towards the team and tactic and he’s clearly making mistakes with team selection. Clark has been to blame for alot of goals this season, when Lascelles played 22 app 21 goals witout 6 app 17 against, bet u had clark 1st choice at the start? Dont rate colback very much but he offers more than Hayden and how many PL apps has colback ? 200 plus? Cant see Hayden ever making that. And i dont want us to go down but i felt all season that if we didnt get someone better than Gayle and Joselu up front thats where we’d go, so maybe im wrong and theres 3 worst teams or maybe slimani can saves us, its hard to say, i Wouldn’t bet on it anyway .

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