Rafa Benitez has been buoyed by the performance of Aleksandar Mitrovic over the last two games with the striker in form and scoring two goals in each of the games against Preston North End that got us the two wins we needed.
The 6-0 win in the EFL Cup put us though to the quarter finals of that competition where we missed the big hitters and will play at Hull City in the next round.
And we have a decent enough chance of reaching the semi-finals if we can play somewhere near our best form in that game.
Aleksandar Mitrovic after scoring at Preston
And we are still top of the Championship and 3 points clear of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Rafa has talked about Mitrovic and he has specifically talked about how the 22 year-old can improve his game.
He was asked where he thinks the Serbian striker will be in a year and this is how Rafa responded to that:
“I would like to see where Mitrovic will be in one week.” “I approach every competition as one game at a time and it is the same for players in terms of their development.”
“He is doing well, he is working hard and when he’s not playing he’s working even harder.”
“Against Preston, he was doing really well and he was doing what he has to do.” “He will improve, he will grow and we want him to keep doing that.”
“No, I knew him because last year we were working with him and he was working very hard,”
“But this year, when Gayle was scoring goals it is more difficult for a young player, a young striker, to see that you are not in the team.”
“When you know that you can score goals like he did at Preston then it is difficult.” “But he was working hard and that is the way.”
It’s very good that Mitro works so hard in training whether he is the team or not and that augers well for his future development as a player.
If he just follows what Rafa tells him to do this lad could become a really great striker for Newcastle and fairly quickly too.
Our next game is next Saturday afternoon at home to Cardiff City and we have to win that game and keep at the top of the table.