Salomon Rondon had that difficult job of being the front man on Saturday when we played at the Etihad Stadium.
The Venezuelan’s job was to hold the ball when he got it and try to bring the other players into the game.
Salomon showed that he is a good front man and his character and temperament seems to be up there with the best of them.
But he is still not match-fit, and Rafa has taken the opportunity to point out to the Newcastle hierarchy that bringing players in early in the window is much better.
That’s because he can integrate the players into the side and they get match practice in the friendlies.
Now Rafa is forced to do that with players like Rondon, Fernandez, and Muto in Premier League games which is not particularly optimum.
Salomon Rondon congratulates DeAndre Yedlin after American scored
Rondon’s cross was smashed into the net by Yedlin
We are hoping that Mike Ashley and company are listening to Rafa – but we won’t hold our breath on that one.
Here’s some of what Rafa has said in the Northern Echo about Salomon Rondon today after his promising performance on Saturday:
“He’s doing well, but he can still improve.”
“He will need match fitness, so we need to play games. “He will continue training, and hopefully we will see the best of him in a few months.”
“I think he is giving us something, but he can still improve.”
“He came after an injury with West Brom, and came late. Now, these games are very important for him.”
“I was pleased with him, but it is also good to give credit to Joselu,”
“Salomon did a great job, he was holding the ball and bringing players into the game and fighting with the center-backs on his own sometimes.”
“They were trying to support him. When Joselu came on the pitch when Salomon was a little bit tired, he was flicking the ball on and trying to do something different.”
“With both players now, we have two players with mobility and a good physical presence, and they can give us something.”
“Now, we have to be sure that the players around them – Yoshinori Muto, Ayoze Perez, Christian Atsu, Matt Ritchie, Jacob Murphy, and Kenedy – give us something.”
“So we can then maximize the strengths of the strikers.”
Rafa likes Joselu a lot, and we have to admit he’s looked quite good this season.
What you can’t criticize about Joselu is his character, temperament and his willingness to run himself into the ground for the team.
It looks like Rondon has those same characteristics.
Maybe Rondon and Joselu can help improve us this season – but the proof is in how many goals we can score.
We scored only 39 goals in 38 Premier League games last season, and we must do better this time around.