Rafa Benitez Points Out The Positives On Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic did not have a good game yesterday and he looked very rusty and short of match practice.

He missed a number of decent chances in the first half and then penalty in the second and that miss gave the Oxford players belief that the could win the win the game, which they did.

But at least Mitro got 90 minutes and at the end of the game he knew he had not played well as he gestured to the Newcastle fans but he still took some stick from the fans after the game.

Aleksandar Mitrovic misses penalty yesterday

Rafa talked about Mitrovic after the game and he pointed out that at least he got 90 minutes and will be close to full fitness after getting a match under his belt.

This is what Rafa said as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“I wasn’t thinking about playing Mitro for 90 minutes, because he missed training for about 10 days.”

“But he was fine, and I wanted to give him some minutes, because he missed the chances in the first half and because he missed the penalty.”

“I was asking him all the time if he was fine, but I preferred to keep him on the pitch for 90 minutes.”

“He was not lucky when he had the chances, but he was working and at least he has 90 minutes under his belt now, and he can be ready for the next games.”

Mitro has not had a good season so far, but once he gets back to full fitness and back in the swing of things hopefully he will start to contribute more as we push forward for promotion back to the Premier League.

The sooner we forget about the terrible display yesterday the better and two wins against QPR on Wednesday night and Derby County and Steve McClaren on Saturday afternoon should raise the Geordie spirits – which are really low at the moment.

Here’s hoping.

Comments welcome.

78 comments so far

  • Bambams

    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    Comment #1

    If I had to choose one player to bring in at the minute between the two we have mainly been linked with it would be Townsend.

    We need pace in this team

    In my opinion

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #2


    When you look at what players are going for nowadays, Then I don’t see why paying 10-13 mill for a player that would help us with promotion to the Pl is a big deal.
    We are quids in still from outgoing players in the summer and are in for a windfall come this summer if we get promotion


    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #3

    We aren’t quids in though more skint by the looks of it

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #4

    Wolves in for Grant Hanley.
    Loan with a option to buy.. 5 mill.
    Would definitely take it so long as Mbemba doesn’t leave as well to palace.

  • mindshaft

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #5

    My nan is still available but she wants an 8 year contract and as her agent I think Charnley offering a colostomy bag and a packet of mints is taking the proverbial , I want mitro thrown into the deal as my nan loves a donkey ride

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #6

    Morning mate

    I thought we were in profit according to the clubs last accounts + the 30 mill which we got for socks.
    Look at what Championship players are costing nowadays. How much did Villa pay for that kid from Bristol, And how much did Fulham want for there attacking midfielder?? Was it 20 mill being quoted.
    I think 10-13 mill is a fair price to pay for a Pl player


    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #7

    Morning mate

    On paper on transfers aye but we didn’t get the Sissoko money up front or the Townsend one according to reports and the club is likely operating at a loss. Ashley just stuck in another 33 mill to cover costs for the season. I don’t think we are flush mate not until we get promoted hence the loans with option to buy

    I’d agree they are probably fair prices for PL players but we can afford them until summer

  • posada

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #8

    Have some great memories of the FA Cup. Some not so good.
    In the past I have been delighted or bitterly disappointed.
    This time I’m fairly neutral about the result.
    You have no right to be disappointed if the club don’t value
    staying in it.

  • jimmygscot

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #9

    Well done to Mitrovic, that penalty miss resulted in the toon getting knocked out the cup im,proving their chances of promotion.
    Cannot see many clubs being interested in Mitro after that performance, another lame duck.

  • posada

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #10

    Do we have money to spend.
    We have 2 senior players in every squad position and a few more besides. Plus the no hopers like Riviere coming back in July.
    Still nobody out. Toite ?
    We simply have to balance the books.
    Anything else is just madness.
    Is there disagreement between owner and manager.

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #11


    I was seated in the Double decker south stand yesterday with my wife.
    I paid the cost of two tickets + travel costs to watch that shambolic display.
    The second half was one of the most embarrassing displays I have seen from a Nufc squad… fringe players or not.
    So I think I have every right to be p@ssed of pal

  • posada

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #12

    Are you annoyed with the manager. It was his team selection.
    We have three games in 8 days. But so do QPR and Derby as far as I know.
    We are supposed to have a so called big squad.
    Squad rotation was supposed to keep them all involved and ready to play.
    I get stick for saying it, but I’ll say it again, that was all hype.

  • Fostino

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #13


    Yedlin lascalles clark dummett
    Rithchie shelvey mccarthy townsand
    Gayle Diame

    That’s a half decemt pl team right there

  • Legolas

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #14

    Some nutters on here last night. I am pleased I fell asleep. Lol.

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #15


    I’m annoyed with everything what happened yesterday bud.
    My point I make is we do not have a big enough squad to cope with injuries or other distractions.. namely cup games.
    You say we have 2 players for every position yet have no one to replace Shelvey.Ritchie gets injured then who comes in of equal talent.
    Lascelles then who??
    Dummett who I don’t rate at all, but we don’t even have ample cover for him.Lazaar looks decent going forward but lacks clear intellect in defending which is his sole objective as a defender..
    If we don’t bring in players this window, Then that’s fine as I think the squad is good enough to get promotion.
    But unless Ashley spends heavy in the summer we are in for a long hard slog next season

  • Tsunki

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #16

    Well I did say as the window was about to open that we needed to start purchasing in preparation for the PL never mind bandaging our promotion campaign run-in.

    If we don’t get anyone it will be because the regime is the same as it always was, and injuries, suspensions, missing promotion and the departing of a disillusioned manager are all feasible end products of a lack of dynamic investment. There are only hours left for us to see whether Ashley really did see the light, or he just sprinkled a little sugar to quiet down the dissent.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #17

    Funny how after a result like yesterday the long silence of the Chuckle Brothers is broken as Troy like popcorn in a pan starts throwing insults around and his brother Brackley the Ashley Fan Club gets his digs into Benitez to mask the lack of quality years of Ashley and Charney penny pinching has left us.

    Predictable. If we go on a bad run again I think we wil see them again.

  • toontaff2

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #18

    Mindshaft’s nan or Mitro the pumped up donkey? Tough choice! Wasn’t the Murph also out injured, rusty, but scores in 3 out of 3 games back?
    Mitro’s penalty was poor and easily saved.
    The guy is too unpredictable, lazy, poor link up, poor finishing record and just not what we need, even in the Championship. Rafa is stuck with him, fending him, but will be quick to offload him in the summer.

  • hibbit

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #19

    jazzyp / Posada

    you both raise good points all worthy of debate
    but lets be honest here after years of neglect it was never going to be a quick fix !!!!!


  • posada

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #20


    We have 2 for each position, although I accept that some are from the previous regime and not the managers choice.
    CM I would say we have 4 players, Colback, Hayden, Shelvey and Anita is actually a midfielder. Toite ? He is still there on 50 a week.
    Thing is if you take out Shelvey its hard to have any confidence in any pairing from the rest.

  • toontaff2

    Jan 29, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #21

    Some of the posters on yesterday appear to be wanting RAFA out. Some crazed comments, hysteric rather than hysterical. Thankfully, dry January coming to an end, home games involve a good drink, usually an enjoyable day out at the Church, and usually away games too, though more often on the sofa!
    Listening to Ando and co is actually not as bad as reading some of the comments on here!!

  • Fostino

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #22

    If spurs bid for Zaha there is no way we are getting townsand

  • toontaff2

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #23

    Haidara + Lazaar does not even make 1 Dummett, make!

  • giimps

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #24

    Personally, i dont think we will go on a bad run, we have kept our 1st team fit and rested them for the league (as well we should) ,my only concern from yesterday was Sels, Darlow would have saved every one of those goal attempts and given our defenders confidence, it loked like every time they got a corner the whole team panicked as they have no confidence in him.
    We wneed to either loan him out next season to get him used to the division and lofted crosses, corners whipped in etc as we cant rely on him, anything that isnt played along the floor or just above it he flaps.
    Mitro was met by Sels polar oposite on the day a keeper confident and able , that was the difference in the first half, in the second half ,they scored early and we never do well when any team scores 1st ………our heads dropped and we had no leader on the pitch with enough stature to get them back up again.
    Its not the end of the world losing yesterday but it certainly puts a nail in draculas coffin for me!!!

  • toontaff2

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #25

    Well QPR next, then Derby.
    I wonder if Will Hughes’ injury in the cup game on Friday will see him out for a while?

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #26


    Yeah on paper we look to have a big enough squad to cope with the rigorous push back to the pl, But in reality mate We haven’t.
    Every home game I like to get in the ground a good hour and sit amongst the long serving platinum club members I have sat with for over 20 year.
    At the end of the game providing I have no reason to shoot off back down the A1, I like to again chat Nufc after thoughts of the match.And the general consensus is that the same players that were below average in the previous Pl campaign are still playing now.
    My worry mate is it’s alright holding on to your gun powder till the summer.But do you honestly see Ashley spending big come the summer months ??

  • jazzyp

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #27


    I had high hopes for Hadaira when he first came to the club. Since that horrendous tackle from that Wigan thug, His career has definitely stalled

  • toontaff2

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #28

    Haidara may still improve with more games.

  • lesh

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #29


    I’ve a horrible feeling that you might be right when you suggested that Ashley’s idea of letting Charnley and Rafa get on with things without interference might just have been a sop to fans – oil and troubled waters comes to mind.

    Could it be that whilst he’s gone along with spend on players and investment in the Club’s infrastructure, he’s thought that things have gone better than he expected and he’d be faced with the choice – invest and support Rafa’s aim to do well in the Prem or get in the Prem and avoid relegation? The signs we’ve seen in Thi window, indicate the latter.

    And with regard to his reported unease with some of Rafa’s older buys and wants Carr to be more involved in buying young players with sell-on potential, I’d like to think he acknowledges that the dead-wood we can’t move out were bought on Carr’s recommendation. But will he? It seems that in Ashley’s eyes, Carr can do no wrong and if he has made mistakes, he’s only human but if Rafa has, his judgement’s called into question.

    Let’s hope that Ashley sees the folly of his ways and supports the best manager we’ll ever get. Lose Rafa and we’ll be competing with the likes of Oxford on a regular basis.

  • posada

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #30


    I was at that game when he was injured. I have never felt so annoyed at the end of a game. We lost to a late goal that should not have been allowed. It looked like a young player was out for a long time.

    Not sure where we go in the summer if promoted. We will I think be one of 10 teams just glad to be in the prem and trying to avoid the bottom three.
    More money to spend but the tranfer fees for average players are now scary.

    Again, I get stick for saying this, but some of the signings look a bit suspect. We sign 2 right backs but still generally play Anita. Sign Lazaar but still rely on Dummet. Sels but then back to Darlow.
    Ritchie and Gayle. Do what it says on the tin and are what you should get for 10 million plus.

  • hibbit

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #31

    of all the players we have Haidara would be the one to benefit the most from a loan the kid needs to be playing every week its the only way forward for him he’s stuck in this injury rut and training is just not enough

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #32

    Our squad isn’t that good, lots of players but not a great deal of quality.

    Shelvey and Gayle have serious ability and stand out a mile in this league, the rest of the squad are just decent championship players. It’s what we neee now but if we do go up there is a serious rebuilding job to do. I think that might be why the club doesn’t want to commit to buying more championship level players and are looking to Prem League quality like Townsend.

    Yesterday was a disgrace, terrible team selection. We are well clear of 3rd and I can’t see us not going up, maybe famous last words but I think we’all walk promotion. It was an ideal time to put a stronger team out in the cup, but as has been standard for 10 years or so we didn’t bother with it.

    At the end of the day I want to be able to look back in 30/40 years and remember a cup win. We might go up and down from the prem league countless times during my lifetime. I get the financial side but we could definitely have afforded to play a stronger side yesterday.

  • Fostino

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #33

    After recent performances I feel the following players who have been involved with the team are not good enough for a pl challenge next year: Sels….Good. ..haidira…Hanley. ..colback. And maybe even mitro & mbemba and lazaar. With anita and goofy out of contract …This must be quite worrying for a manager

    And out of our loans the only one id be happy to see return is krul yet we may get landed with saviet. .De jong..riverie again….!!

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #34

    Also I’m not a Benitez fan, never have been. He’s a good manager and will do well for us, so not wanting him sacked or anything of the sort.

    I just don’t like his style of football and his cautious approach.

    I much prefer high energy teams like Klopp, Pochettino and Conte. I know they are above our level but that’s the style I prefer.

  • Fostino

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #35

    I was excited about team selection yesterday except for the captaincy of hanley. He’d enough on his plate forming another new partnership with good. Someone like rithchie should have played and be made captain.

    I can understand resting shelvey but again it higlights a lack of creativity in the middle if shelvey not there. Again ritchie should have been played.

  • hibbit

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #36

    Transfer Sage

    did Klopp not make the same mistakes yesterday liverpool were shocking ???

  • Australian Pie

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #37

    Australian Pie
    January 29, 2017
    I was there jazzy mate and it is fine. He played those he thought deserved the chance and could do the job, they didn’t.
    Getting to the next stage of the FA cup would have been great but it’s not worth risking some of our top lads in doing so. I fully believe back in the top flight The club will be happy to have more of a go at it.

    As an Aussie great to see Good playing a first team game. He wasn’t a star out there but was one of the more consistent lads out there particularly in defending a 2 on 1 situation which could have made our defeat worse. Hope to see him make the bench a few more times this season.

  • magspuggy

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #38

    Gutted for the gang who had to sit through that yesterday.

    You do our club proud and deserve better everytime you turn out.

    Onto the next game after the rest we should be able to expect a good return in points and get this playoffs gap out of sight.

    Transfers. 30ish million don’t sound to bad for two players both from prem teams I hope we get them over the line before the window closes.

    Starting to think Townsend may be scared of the big boy tackling in this league his silence speaks volumes’
    ,put a request in lad,


    Haway the toon..

  • Legolas

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #39

    At the start of the season everyone was happy with the squad. If we don’t sign anyone I will be as gutted as the next fan as I was gutted we didn’t win yesterday but I would have been more gutted if we had lost a couple of players to injury and it effected our league campaign. There is still time to get someone in. We have a core of players who could do a decent job in the premier: Darlow, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Gayle, Murphy and dare I say Mitro. ( I am not saying they are top players but good standard. IMHO.

    I don’t like Ashley but it could be a lot worse better the devil you know as they say. Look at the Cardiff owner changing colours or the Hull owner ( I think ) who wanted to change the name and before people’s say I know Ashley changed the stadium name but nobody really called it that.

    Let’s see what happens if/ when we get promoted.

  • Legolas

    Jan 29, 2017 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #40

    I forgot to add yedlin to that list. Who I rate highly.


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