Rafa Benitez opens up on his striker dilemma as new boys shine from the bench

Rafa Benitez is pleased with the selection dilemma posed by his strikers - even if it leaves him with something of a headache.

Saturday, 11th August 2018, 4:41 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 10:40 am
Rafa Benitez is backing Yoshinori Muto to improve even further
Rafa Benitez is backing Yoshinori Muto to improve even further

Newcastle now have four senior strikers at their disposal, with Benitez believing that each offers different qualities to his Newcastle side.

And the Spaniard believes that such striking competition will be good for his side as he looks to improve on last season's goal tally.

Joselu was Benitez's selection on the opening day against Spurs, and he justified that choice with the Magpies' only goal of the game.

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Many fans, however, were surprised by the omission of new signings Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon - both of whom were tipped to start.

But Benitez is keen to see the duo develop a greater understanding of the side around them before they are handed a starting berth.

"I think I could see that we were right not to play them from the beginning," he said.

"The understanding with the other teammates and maybe the fitness, it was not exactly what you are expecting.

"But at the same time, it's normal because they came late in the transfer window.

"In this case, I am happy with the effort, the movement and a lot of things, but still you can see that the understanding with the other teammates isn't quite there."

Muto, in particular, provided plenty of intrigue with Newcastle fans having seen little of the former Mainz striker.

And the Japanese international put in a lively performance during his ten-minute cameo, highlighting how he could provide a different spark for Newcastle if required.

Benitez now has a quartet of frontmen to choose from and, while this could be seen as a burden in terms of selection, the Spaniard is keen to see the attackers push eachother on.

The Newcastle boss is also backing Muto to improve further as he beds in to his new surroundings.

"I think he was trying, like we were expecting," said Benitez on Muto.

"He was trying hard and now he just needs to improve this understanding between him and the rest of the teammates, so he knows what we want to do and how the rest of the team will react.

"I think he will be better, but he gives us desire, pace and mobility which I think is important for the strikers.

"With him, Rondon, Joselu and Ayoze (Perez), we have four different types of strikers which can only be good for the team."