Aleksandar Mitrovic has done his job well when he started both the last two games against Preston and he scored a brace each time and all four goals were very well taken by the 22 year-old the Serbian striker.
So he has given manager Benitez a problem for next week when we are at home to Cardiff City as to whether he should start Mitro or Dwight Gayle up front – Dwight has 11 goals for us this season already.
We think Mitro could get the nod, but Rafa will watch them both closely in training this week, but maybe Dwight could start in the number 10 role behind Mitrovic?
Rafa Benitez and Simon Grayson shake hands before the game
We have now won our last 7 games and 14 of the last 16 games played and Rafa seems to think which striker to choose next week is a good problem to have:
“It is a very good problem to have the top scorer in the division to come in from the bench.” “I am really pleased because we are a team that is growing.”
“So we have team spirit and we are working for each other, that’s what we will need if we are going to be strong.”
“It wasn’t easy for Mitro because the two center-backs were challenging him all the time.” “It was difficult for everyone.”
“We did well on the pitch and I will say we were controlled, but not too much but at the end it was very difficult.”
“To have no problems in a game is almost impossible and we did really well.”
“I was not nervous or tense near the end.” “I knew we had done well before and in those last 10 minutes it was a case of us being in good position and whether we would be lucky or not.”
“The ball could go one way or the other, you never know.”
Rafa is referring to the stoppage time that went on for almost 10 minutes and right at the death Preston hit the base of the post, so they could have grabbed an equalizer and had two goals after after the 89th minute.
It’s good they didn’t and we came away with all 3 very valuable points, but it was a (very) hard-fought game and it seems Rafa saw a lot in the game that makes him positive for the future.
And we shouldn’t forget that Karl Darlow deserves great credit and he had a terrific game in goal for us today.
We are top of the league tonight and now 7 points clear of third placed Huddersfield Town if you consider our superior goal difference.
Huddersfield and Norwich were both beaten 5-0 on the road this afternoon at Fulham and Brighton respectively.