Rafa Benitez has revealed that Salomon Rondon has been doing ‘really, really well’ in training this week – despite expecting the striker to be ‘tired’ after being forced to play an unexpected 90 minutes during his comeback game against Watford last weekend.
The Venezuelan made his first start in over a month during our 1-0 win over Watford last month, however Rafa claims that he was not meant to play the entire game.
His return didn’t quite go to plan, with injuries to Muto, Lascelles and Shelvey meaning we had no substitutions left to bring the big man off – although Benitez seems to think this has ended up benefiting the West Brom loanee.
Here’s what he’s said about Rondon ahead of tomorrow’s game with Bournemouth:
“I think it will benefit him to have played for 90 minutes, even if it isn’t what we were planning,”
“His match fitness is still not ideal, and maybe we were expecting him to play just 70 minutes, or something like that, against Watford.
“He had to play 90 minutes after the injuries we had. He was working very hard and giving us something different.”
“During the week, he has been training – and, even though we thought he would be tired, but he’s doing really, really well,”
“With all that, I think it was only a good thing for him to have played 90 minutes last week, and hopefully we see that on Saturday.”
It’s worth pointing out that Rafa has stressed that his match fitness is ‘still not ideal’, however it seems last weekend’s run out did him the world of good.
He wasn’t spectacular last week, but he did his job well. He worked his socks off, won plenty flick ons and was a real handful, often getting the better of their centre-backs when entering any physical battle.
As Rafa says in the last line of his quotes, hopefully we see the benefit of his recent 90-minute runout and impressive week in training when Bournemouth come to town tomorrow!
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