Rafa Benitez took time out after last night’s game to explain his team selection to The Shields Gazette.
The inclusion of Yoan Gouffran proved to be a masterstroke with the Frenchman playing well in the 4 – 1 win:
“We were talking about Gouffran, and maybe he was thinking about offers that could come, but he had to play and he did really well.”
It’s lifted a weight off the squad’s shoulders and with a tricky trip to Bristol City this weekend, arrived at just the right time.
Gouffran thoroughly deserved the applause he received as he left the pitch.
Rafa is keen on squad rotation and has plenty of experienced players to choose from. The watching Moussa Sissoko may like to take note of how to win the fans over if his often talked about moves fail to materialise.
There’s a benefit to Rafa involving fringe players. Not only does it keep them hungry for a place in the XI, it also makes them look good in the transfer window if they happen to put in a decent shift.
A win-win situation for everyone.