Aleksandar Mitrovic scored two goals in Wednesday night’s 6-0 win over Preston in the EFL Cup and he could start tomorrow at Preston with Dwight Gayle said to be very doubtful for the game.
And Rafa has talked to the local press today and it seems he has talked to Mitro personally about his behavior on Tuesday night and has made some points to the whole squad about lack of discipline in the team and how negative that is.
Mitrovic was booked for taking his shirt off after scoring his second goal and before that he had argued with Matt Ritchie to try to take the penalty when Matt was the designated penalty taker.
Aleksandar Mitrovic arguing with Matt Ritchie to take penalty
This is what Rafa said on Friday to the local press:
“Our message was very clear,” “We will have suspensions and injuries.” “You see Colback now from the challenge the other day.” “You need a good squad and everybody has to be working.”
“That’s the reason why we were sending the same message.” “We knew this could happen.”
“It’s a silly thing to do (Mitro took his shirt off after scoring second goal and got booked) as you don’t need to do it.”
“This one has been a conversation with the whole team (Mitro argued with Ritchie to take the penalty), because these are things that are important for the rest of the team too.”
“To be booked for this makes no sense.” “They need to know that arguing to take a penalty when we have already decided on a penalty taker makes no sense.”
“Mitro, in terms of working, is working very hard,” “In terms of his mentality, he’s a young player. He’s very emotional. It’s a question of time.”
“When I came last year I had two or three conversations with him, trying to manage him a little bit. “He’s getting better.” “The other day he was so excited.”
“You can see it’s very positive. “He’s celebrating the goals with his team-mates when he’s on the bench.” “There are a lot of positives.”
“But he has to manage his temper a little bit – that is the challenge.”
The game was televised live around the world on Tuesday night and it didn’t look good when Mitro argued with Matt Ritchie to take the penalty and the Serbian was persistent in his pleads to Matt.
Richie did well to keep the ball and eventually take the penalty and score – but that altercation could have put Matt off.
That’s a lack of discipline on the field and did not reflect well on the club.
Mitro is a challenge for Rafa Benitez, but we’re sure he can handle the 22 year-old – we hope he can handle Mitro – and eventually make him into a great player for the Magpies.