Why Rafa Benitez is undecided on a recall for Newcastle’s Aleksandar Mitrovic

Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic
Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Aleksandar Mitrovic could again be on the bench tonight – despite his starring role in Rafa Benitez’s first win.

The Newcastle United striker came off the bench and set up two goals in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Swansea City at St James’s Park.

I understand the fans like this player (Mitrovic), but we have to pick the team thinking that these are the best players to win.

Rafa Benitez

Mitrovic was introduced in the 80th minute when the visitors were pushing for an equaliser.

But the striker set up late goals for Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend.

And the result moved the club to within three points of Premier League safety ahead of the visit of Manchester City to St James’s Park.

United manager Benitez, however, could again start Papiss Cisse up front.

Asked if Mitrovic’s cameo had given him a decision to make for the Man City game, Benitez said: “We needed to see how they were (and) if they have some knocks or problems.

“I praised the team. The 11 starters and the substitutes at the end of the game, because a lot of them made a contribution.

“We have to analyse carefully. I understand the fans like this player (Mitrovic), but we have to pick the team thinking that these are the best players to win.

“Then, maybe if we have to change something, these are the players that can make the difference if they come from the bench.

“I will try to do the same. I don’t think too much about names. It’s just about players.”

Meanwhile, Fabricio Coloccini (calf) and Daryl Janmaat (hand and groin) won’t be available for the City game, though Kevin Mbabu (thigh) is “very close” to a comeback, according to Benitez.