Rafa Benitez Talks About His Strikers And Goalkeeper

It will be interesting to see what team Rafa Benitez starts on Tuesday night at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, for what is a six points at the top of the Championship table on Tuesday night.

But after the disappointing 2-2 draw yesterday against 4th bottom Bristol City, he has come out and backed both Aleksandar Mitrovic and Karl Darlow.

Aleksandar – not for the first time recently – missed a number of chances on Saturday that could have seen us get all 3 points.

Dwight Gayle – could start against Brighton

Karl made another mistake along with Paul Dummett that gifted the visitors their second goal and that cost us all 3 points.

We hope that Dwight Gayle is mentally OK to play and that his hamstring is not still worrying him and that he can start the game against Brighton.

This is what Rafa said when asked by the local press if he thought Mitro was suffering from a lack of confidence – as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“No, I don’t think so. “I was really pleased for him the other day against Aston Villa.” He worked hard, and if he scores goals, he would be happier and with more confidence.”

“Dwight has been training and we will see.” “It’s a question of how he feels. He was fine on Saturday.”

“Karl made a great save afterwards.” “The keeper has to deal with difficult balls, and in this case we made a mistake and it’s something we have to improve.”

“It’s not very difficult to analyse this situation and correct it.”

If Dwight can’t play on Tuesday night then Rafa could turn to the immensely experienced Daryl Murphy, who has hardly let us down when he has played this season and offers a threat in the air in the penalty box.

Daryl has scored 3 goals in 12 appearances for the first team this season.

Comments welcome.

15 comments so far

  • blew

    Feb 26, 2017 at 11:14 PM

    Comment #1

    When Rafa rotates on Tuesday he should include
    some of his favourites, they are regularly letting
    him and the team down.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Feb 26, 2017 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #2

    It will take something not seen this year to get anything out of the next 3 games. It’s been very long since we last played like champions.

    At the moment Brighton and Huddersfield and absolutely dominating their opposition in their games. While we,.. Just roll over.

  • catchy in norway

    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:44 AM

    Comment #3

    i’m. they understanding why we are playing as if we have won the league already, players need to wake up

  • Viduka

    Feb 27, 2017 at 6:46 AM

    Comment #4

    Fought back from 2 nil down to salvage a point… Yes yes at home vs 4th bottom but still it ain’t rolling over

  • G

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    Comment #5

    We never make things easy for ourselves do we? Keep Dwight till he is 100%, start with Murph up front and keep Mitro on the bench. Need to put some fire back in his belly for the chances. Murph and Diame up front for me tomorrow please Rafa.

  • giimps

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #6

    To be fair though, the inconsistencies of referees are a huge problem, allowing offside goals to stand ,allowing strikers to basically assault our defenders and get away with it.
    On Saturday it was as if Bristol had been given free reign to do whatever they want to win the game, if Mitro had tried some of the things they were doing he would have been carded in the first 10 minutes .
    I think the difference between us and the rest of this league is that we dont know whats going to be allowed by each referee ,all the teams seem to play on the edge of fouling ,we try and do the same and we get free kicks agInst us…….i think we need to be more clever and analyse referees performances in previous games and do a report on them so we dont fall foul of their either leniency to opposition players or if theyre :homers: ….im not sure if this is done but it could help in the last 13 games……il let Rafa know when he comes to pay his catalogue

  • one fine day

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    Comment #7

    Decent shout on Murphy for Tuesday .
    Offers more at the moment than mitro ( in my opinion)
    More mobile and a nuisance , less likely to get bullied against dunk and co due to his experience in this league .
    Not only that ,he knows how to finish.
    I like mitro ,was daft enough to take him as top scorer in martoons comp,but seems to snap at so many chances lately ,chances that had he even gotten half of them we’d be clear of Brighton by now ..
    Other than that I’d stay as we were on sat .
    Don’t think bringing in Elliott for these three games will do anyone any good ,unless darlow has a ‘mare.
    Lascalles I think will be ok ,seems to lift in the big games.
    Perez I think may come good here against a team trying to play football for a change .

  • Tsunki

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    Comment #8

    Either that or his Provvie eh giimps? 🙂

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #9

    My best guess is that Rafa isn’t really thinking about starting Gayle.
    Normally you don’t have to take a guy (who has a history of hamstring niggles) who relies on his pace, off the field, after a few minutes, a week ago, and then immediately try it again.
    Probably just trying to keep Brighton guessing about our team / set up if he can.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 27, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    Comment #10

    I still don’t get this team being the envy of the league thing. Yes, we moved in a wholesale stock of personnel but the only reason Rafa had the means to do it was because we had a stock of expensive wasters to shift. It’s not like we were the nouveau riche of the championship with some billionaire boyhood fan in charge.

    And I for one was never enthused about the fact the large chunk of the team that got us relegated ended up being the core of this one. I always said it was a championship team built for purpose, which it had to be because there was never enough money to completely change the pick n mix fiasco that was our relegation squad.

    I think Rafa hasn’t actually got this magical squad, he’s got the best squad under the circumstances from which he can pick a decent championship team. The world including his dog can see he needed to get two or three key players in January for the final push. I don’t think he was supported on this and will consider his options at the end of the season whatever happens.

    In summary, Rafa is making the best of the squad to get promotion by averages and it has worked so far. So it’s pointless to complain that he could do better, should do better.

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 27, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    Comment #11

    Spot on Tsunki.
    As people have been saying…check out Villa and Norwich.
    Some of theses rivals are so much more Championship ready / ‘battle hardened’.

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 27, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #12

    Eg. Brighton! Reading…Leeds, Sheff Wed to an extent…

  • G

    Feb 27, 2017 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #13

    Tsunki, I get your points, however, you could argue that with the exception of a couple of players (Gamez/Lazaar etc) that they all have Premier League experience to some degree. I think this is what people refer to when they say our squad is the envy of the league. we do need to strengthen significantly though should we be promoted.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 27, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    Comment #14

    Current squad Players who should understudy if we get promoted

    Darlow (unless he gets de-Brambled)
    Krul (unless he finds his hands again)

    Players to release (past it or never going to reach it)


  • Moonraker15

    Feb 27, 2017 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #15

    Stop moaning and get behind the team. I think we will be unbeaten after the next 3 games! I know I’ve got rose tinted glasses but I just have so much confidence in Rafa and I think the team feels the same. By the way, we are unbeaten in about 10 league games despite this so called wobble. I think Rafa may bring in Elliott soon as Darlow is feeling the pressure and needs a break! Anyway, away form is superb. These teams are shitting themselves; Brighton are probably thinking about last season’s collapse! HWTL


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