Rafa Benitez’s simple message for Newcastle’s Mohamed Diame ahead of his reutrn to Wigan

Newcastle United's Mohamed Diame.
Newcastle United's Mohamed Diame.

Rafa Benitez believes Mohamed Diame’s getting back to his best – as he prepares to go back to the DW Stadium tonight.

Diame – who spent the first three years of his career in English football at Wigan Athletic – was outstanding in Newcastle United’s 4-0 win over Birmingham City.

When I said that he was too honest when he was criticising himself, I wanted to say he was working very hard.

Rafa Benitez

The midfielder had said he felt he needed to “wake up” as he had been “sleeping” since his summer from Hull City, who he helped win promotion last season.

“When I said that he was too honest when he was criticising himself, I wanted to say he was working very hard,” said United manager Benitez.

“For a player, what you are expecting is for him to work hard. After, you play well.

“He was working very hard for the team and doing what he has to do.

“The last game, he did the same, but he was much better in the final pass or decisions.

“That was really positive. In terms of the attitude, I was happy with that.

“I will say the same to Dwight (Gayle). I don’t say to Dwight ‘you have to score goals’.

“No, you have give 100% and after you will score goals. With Diame, it’s the same.”

Meanwhile, Benitez included Ayoze Perez in his squad for the Wigan game.

Perez missed the Birmingham fixture through illness.

Midfielder Jack Colback (eye) and Grant Hanley (shin) remain sidelined.

“Ayoze is fine,” said Benitez. “He has been training with the team and will be in the squad.

“The others are more or less the same and we don’t want to push.”