Serbia Coach Takes A Dig At Rafa Benitez

The Republic of Ireland will play Serbia in Dublin tonight in World Cup qualifying, and it looks like Ciaran Clark could even be marking his Newcastle team-mate Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Mitro is in the bad books again at Newcastle following his third sending off in Newcastle colors, after he elbowed West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini in our last game.

The decision was retroactive since the referee missed the incident during the game and Mitro will now miss our next three games.

Aleksandar Mitrovic in action for Serbia

But Mitro is scoring the goals for his country and so far has six goals in six games of World Cup qualifying for his country.

The Serbia manager  Slavoljub Muslin says Aleksandar Mitrovic feels more appreciated when he plays for his country than when he plays for Newcastle United.

This is what Muslin had to say about Aleksandar as reported in the Mail and he takes a dig at Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez:

“Maybe the system we play with three attackers suits him better.”

“Perhaps the coach in Newcastle doesn’t have as much confidence in him as I do. He is our first center forward.”

“Perhaps he feels more comfortable playing for the national team than he does for his own club.”

In his two years at Newcastle, Mitrovic has played 67 games with 17 goals and 10 assists, and he does seem to be coming into some good form lately.

But the truth is that Mitro needs to improve his discipline and if he doesn’t do that this season the Serbian striker could well be sold next summer by Rafa Benitez.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

44 comments so far

  • martoon

    Sep 5, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #1

    To be honest you can’t really argue with what he says. He is there first choice striker and seems more comfortable when he plays for Serbia.

  • jimmysmith

    Sep 5, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #2

    Mitrovic will see more action this term I think. He’s good and getting better as he gains in experience. I expect him to battle it out with Joselu to start. Last term was too important to entrust the starting role to him, but he will settle into a more significant role this year. Incredibly stupid suspension though. Gifting the shirt to his rivals just as they are all jostling for it, as he did of course last term. But the team need to be greater than the sum of it’s parts, and we get more from the entire 11, when we play with a target man. I think we are seeing a change toward this setup already. Joselu will start at Swansea, and probably see out the game in Mitro’s absence as I read it.

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #3

    Serbia playing in WCQ’s against National sides of dramatically varying quality is miles away from trying to achieve success in English domestic leagues – be it the Championship or the PL.
    If we tried 3 strikers against PL midfields we’d get over run and murdered.
    I suspect Slavoljub Muslin who spent 6 years playing in France knows this.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 5, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #4

    Needs to not be suspended to play in any formation.

  • hibbit

    Sep 5, 2017 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #5

    thanks Ron a decent read Mr Barns is a mystery no one has any idea of who or what his is or what he does

    Bishop never missed a home game last season and so far not missed one this season
    at the risk of getting hung he actual seems to enjoy them

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #6

    Justin Barnes arrive at SJP last January but none of the so called ITK journos picked up on him being there until spring
    I think he may have initially been brought in because of his personal relationship with Steve Parrish to try and facilitate Rafa’s hearts wish to get Andros Townsend but that failed , I suspect because of Hippo heed .
    Ever since Keegan’s time Ashley has talked about bringing other investors on board . so as people suspect . he probably remained at NUFC with that in mind.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #7


    Since Ashley has done such a great job these past ten years I can’t imagine why he needs a spin doctor!

  • toontaff2

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #8

    From previous:
    Fabulous 4: Fatty, Bishop, Barnes, Prenfold
    Sub: Moncur!!!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #9

    I thought we were talking about time on the field, goals, even system…and then Ed spins it around to be about discipline!

    …I don’t think there’s a difference between Mitro playing for Newcastle and Mitro playing for Serbia.

    Mitro is who he is but can be conditioned…but he needs confidence and support to do so!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #10

    hibbit…that Barnes fella has always been a mystery to me as well…

    lesh seems to have him all figured out…I just don’t see how he would know!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #11

    One issue I do take with Rafa is he’s clearly trying to shift out more or less any player he has not bought…there will always be a few he likes…

    We know Mitro was for sale this window and the other day I read he tried to sell Mbemba as well…

    Maybe he should have focused more on the players he bought for the Championship and moved them on instead!

  • Harley

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #12

    Mitro should be our no 1 striker but his his indiscipline is letting him down. In his last 4 premiership games he’s picked up 2 3 match bans. That’s not a great ratio.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #13

    maybe RAFA got the hump with Ashley he could not get the players in to field a RAFA ELEVEN ie Goalkeeper.
    Problem with moving some of RAFA’s deadwood buys was the club give them stupid five year contracts

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #14

    23 match bans in 4 games IS bad like

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #15

    Charlie…the 5 year contracts still puzzles me! Does defending it keeps argueing that players wouldn’t sign if they didn’t get massive 5 years contract…

    …first off I don’t buy that and if it were true then the answer to the problem is simple…sign another player.

    It’s never wise to solved on problem by creating a new one.

    It’s obvious this season that Rafa would have had more money to Søren if it wasn’t near impossible to move players on…Rafa has to get the transfers right (of course some just doesn’t work out)

    But the massive 5 year deals should be the exception and not the rule

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #16

    *does = those

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 5, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #17


    i wish he would get rid of Lascelles and Darlow, and to be fair to him the players he took over may have been cecent at one time, but he has had to put a lot of work into them to build them back up.

    My Gripe with Rafa is 2 fold, 1st his no 10, i have said many times i believe Shelvey should be there or maybe Merino looks like he can play there. 2ND point, i think he leave his subs way to late, when he needs an impact.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #18

    Catchy…I think Rafa should had focused on moving the deadwood…it was never realistic I think to move every player on you thought could be upgraded!

    On the #10 issue I suppose you are right the players we have had have never worked out in that position…

    …to be honest don’t think it will change with Shelvey nor Merino…or Gayle or Joselu…people are calling for all sorts of players to play there…

    …change the formation 🙂

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #19


    Me neither – did not understand Hanley’s five year. Me I think a three year contract is sufficient

  • Geordie-john

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #20

    I think Mitro deserves a decent crack of the whip but on the condition that he has his hands handcuffed around his waist lol.
    Why is there so much negativity about the players we have ? i.e. Why do you want to get rid of Lascelles and Darlow ? These are young lads who have shown good decent skills, aggression and togetherness . In my eyes they can only improve under the likes of Rafa. What’s the matter with you lot ? Get behind them not on their backs about silly mistakes that they might make now and then. Everyone makes mistakes !

  • Tinman

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #21

    Mitro is the best striker at the club. He’s still young and a player of his style usually comes into their peak.later in the career and can still be effective in their mid 30s. Regardless of that he is the best we have and is the with scope to greatly.improve.

    Think Rafa has made a big mistake trying to sell him and we would regret it in the future.

    Stupid phone with its fullstops.

  • Tinman

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #22

    Geordie John – I was of the opinion that Rafa would improve our current crop however that hasn’t been the case. He likes to bring in his own. I’ve had a closer look at his time at Pool and it is of a similar style. Lots of ins and outs.

  • The Vicar

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #23

    For goodness sake, Ed. The guy isn’t taking a dig at Benitez, he’s just saying he plays a different system. There are several on our books including a few “hoy-oots” who could do very well for other teams because they play a DIFFERENT SYSTEM. Benitez has decided his system and is getting in players to fit his system. Seems logical to me.

    We all love Benitez, partly because he is a rabble rouser, just like us. But he does have a reputation for using the media to put pressure on the owner; Liverpool is a good example. Benitez is at heart a fan, thinks and acts like a fan, thinks like we think.

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #24

    I have to say an English/British breakfast HAS to have black pudden !

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #25

    Not really a dig is it. Just expressing a difference in opinion and style.

    I hope Mitro’s Serbia beat Clark’s Ireland tonight. I much prefer Clark as a footballer and person currently, but Mitro going to the WC and hopefully continuing to perform at the same level for Serbia there would be best for us, either via him attracting more suitors or somehow maturing at club level and translating those international performances to NUFC.

  • Ben Afri

    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #26


    Well said!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #27

    If Mitro keeps up the International form we might just see him start this weekend…

    …would love for us to try playing 3 forwards ala Serbia or even my home country

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #28

    …shoot 🙁 Mitro is suspended isn’t he?

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #29

    4-4-1-1 it is then with Joselu up on top and Perez just behind

  • Tsunki

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #30

    I don’t know how long the jury is going to be put on Mitro but I’m glad I’m not paying their hotel bill! 🙂

    Not that I’m advocating the style of previous incumbents by any stretch ha ha but the lad hasn’t brought it together under several managers and for a few years now. We are talking about professional sportsmen here – they aren’t being asked to play a different sport and unless he’s being asked to go in goal i think he should have been banging a decent few in by now. If he’s the kind of luxury that requires a tailor-made forward line to function adequately in, perhaps we should wake up and smell the coffee and conclude he aint our guy?

  • Chancel My MBembaship

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #31

    Mike Ashley failing to honour his pledges again. Maybe someone needs to explain how making a promise works to Mike.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #32

    I think that anyone who is counting on Mike to keep his word should be careful not to be standing in front of a fireplace.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #33

    Oh yeah, that reminds me that when I offered the thought of boycotting SD products it was pointed out that it would only hurt the SD employees. NEWS FLASH! Mike has taken care of the employee-hurting thing already! FACT!


  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #34

    Boycotting SD products is all well and good…I suppose we as Newcastle supporters are probably best at doing things that requires the least sacrifice from us as supporters…

    Something is always better than nothing…

  • cyprus

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #35

    Mitrovic is our best CF. And the assertion that he is not a natural goal scorer is a myth.

    The others can play when he’s suspended 😉

    Joking aside, our new signing looked good. Them two should get equal time.

  • Jib

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #36

    Sports Direct statement:-

    “Our research found that in common with surveys by other companies, the vast majority of our casual staff wish to remain on flexible arrangements.”

    Some people (quite a lot actually) prefer zero hour contracts as it suits their purpose.

    The unions are showing once again their lack of understanding of the modern workplace and their inflexibility.

  • Levi

    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #37

    It’s so frustrating because he is probably our best striker but if rafa got offered 10m for him I’d take it

  • lesh

    Sep 5, 2017 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #38

    Chancel My MBembaship

    Interesting that the Guardian’s picked up on yet more lies from Ashley. He promised Parliament that he’d review practices in SD so one can only hope he’s hauled in front of the committee to explain himself. With major shareholders having an interest SD’s share price’ll probably be affected – and reduce the possibility of any further financial intervention into the Club.

    As an aside, the Mirror and Scottish Daily Record have picked up on the open letter and I’ve sent it on to the Guardian in the hope that it might just pick up on the story. The Grauniad seem to love Ashley to pieces!!


    You say I’ve got Barnes sussed out and I haven’t really, it’s just that I’m a cynic that tries to join the dots and the coincidence between his appearance as ‘the one who puts the boot in for Ashley’ and transfer problems made things fairly straightforward.

  • lesh

    Sep 5, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #39

    Jesper and all

    if 50000 fans forwarded sent a copy of the open letter to Ashley at Shirebrook – or even an unstamped envelope with a polite message in it – Royal Mail want to be paid for delivery and give SD’s admin a headache. Doing the same but sent to individual SD shops would cause problems too.

  • Chancel be a fine thing

    Sep 5, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #40

    Just thinking that Shelvey should flip an angry finger behind the refs back at the Swansea game. He can do this in the safe knowledge that the pundits will all come out in his defence, and various repeats won’t be shown to disprove his PR tweet saying it was a joke with a mate.


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