Mikel Merino says he was really tired during the game on Saturday at Liverpool which we lost 2-0.
Mikel has not had much time on the field in the last several months, but with Jonjo Shelvey also out this coming Saturday, he is likely to start in that crucial game too.
Mikel needs games, and Rafa will probably arrange a friendly during our three-week break after the Southampton game to keep the players sharp.
Mikel Merino – in action at Liverpool
Mikel has talked to the local papers – as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“I felt tired out there,” “When you’re not playing regularly, that’s normal, because minutes on the pitch give you energy.”
“I feel good. Of course, it’s not easy when you are defending all the game, but I worked hard and tried to do what the coach wanted.”
“Jonjo Shelvey may be missing again, so I have to be ready for that too. “I need to take advantage of an opportunity I get.”
“I have recovered from my back injury, I have had other problems too, but I now feel fit.”
“I’m training with high intensity and ready when the coach needs me.”
“Every game’s important, and we try to approach every one with the same mentality, but maybe the next two games at home are a little bit easier than this one,”
“Not at the high level of Liverpool, but we know the way we have to play is the same as we played against Manchester United and Bournemouth.”
“Liverpool are a top side, a big club with quality players,” “They’re winning a lot of games while we are battling against relegation.”
“There was a big difference between the two sets of players technically, but we tried out best, tried to defend together but in the end, they took their opportunities.”
“It is difficult to defend for 90 minutes because they pass the ball so well and drag you out of position.”
“They find spaces and you end up exhausted. Once they scored their first goal, it made it easier for them.”
“In the second half, I think we kept pushing until the end and that is the positive we have to take from this game.”
The three-week break starting after Saturday’s game is good so that players like Shelvey and Slimani can get fit for the final crucial eight games of the season.
But Algeria have threatened to name Slimani in their squad for the upcoming International games.
That seems nonsensical to us, and he will probably come back injured if allowed to join his country’s squad.
We still believe Newcastle will try to prevent Slimani being called up.
What do you think?