According to The Shields Gazette, Newcastle manager Rafa Benítez has responded to comments made by former player Aleksandar Mitrović that the manager couldn’t get the best out of him.
Benítez graciously overlooked the comments made by the striker and wished him the best, saying that the club need to focus on their own strikers.
While this is a good reflection on Benítez, and a masterclass in how to manage the media, it also raises some questions about the club.
The Serbian has already scored five Premier League goals in nine appearances for Fulham so far this season, as he looks to be one of the league’s most lethal strikers. The fact that the Spaniard could not explain why he could not get the best out of the striker says something about his management that maybe he doesn’t want to admit.
Of course, this may have just ben a case of being reluctant to join in tittle-tattle, but this is a problem the club are currently facing. Dwight Gayle, another Newcastle striker, was loaned to West Brom at the beginning of the season and has made a terrific start to life in the Championship. Meanwhile, Salomón Rondón joined on loan from The Baggies, and has been less successful at St James’ Park.
There is a growing number of strikers that have struggled under Beniétez in black and white, and it may start to become alarming for fans. The fact that the former Champions League manager was unable to explain why only makes it more concerning.