Manager Rafa Benitez is already saying Newcastle are missing Miguel Almiron in the team.
He gives Newcastle great pace out on the left wing and while Christian Atsu played well on Saturday, Rafa keeps pointing out he is a different kind of player than Miguel.
Rafa says Christian doesn’t have those 40 yard runs that we see from Almiron during games and that can help relieve the pressure on the team when we are under pressure defending.
Maybe Rafa will change the formation to better use the skills of Atsu for the last couple of games?
Christian Atsu in action on Saturday
This is what Rafa said about Almiron after the game as reported in the Shields Gazette today:
“Yeah. I think Atsu did well, but he’s a different kind of player, more in between the lines, he can go behind.”
“But he does not have the 30-40 meter runs that Almiron has.”
“So when you are defending deep, we didn’t have that.”
“Also, Jonjo (Shelvey) was playing really well in the first half, because we had the possession.”
“But the second half you could see we needed some legs in the middle because they were physically more aggressive.”
“They were quite strong in the air.”
“We have been working on that (keeping the ball), and we were expecting something like that,”
“We had been watching Brighton games and clips.”
“There were still two or three situations where we could do something better, some clear chances, but we were quite happy with everything.”
“We knew it would become more difficult for us, that they would be pushing and pushing and on top of us.”
“I was expecting a bit more quality from us.”
It’s a pity we couldn’t hold onto the lead last Saturday in the second half, but it’s over now.
Next up are Liverpool on Saturday night with an unlikely 7:45pm kickoff time.
And then we play at Fulham in our final game of the season the following Sunday afternoon.