Rafa Benitez reacts to Islam Slimani's Newcastle performance against Arsenal

Rafa Benitez has praised Islam Slimani after he came off the bench and created Newcastle United's winner against Arsenal.

Monday, 16th April 2018, 9:38 am
Updated Monday, 16th April 2018, 12:16 pm
Islam Slimani

The striker, signed on loan from Leicester City, was sent on in yesterday's 2-1 win over Arsene Wenger's side.

Newcastle were drawing 1-1 at the time, and Slimani replaced Dwight Gayle up front.

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The 29-year-old directed a header towards Ayoze Perez, who flicked it to Matt Ritchie. The winger took a touch before firing what turned out to be the winner.

Asked about the impact Slimani made, United manager Benitez said: "I think he has the desire. He's a worker. He wants to impress.

"With him, and after Joselu who was doing a good job as a second striker, and after with Jacob (Murphy), so we had fresh legs and also players that had the ambition and desire to make an impact in the end.

Islam Slimani

"That helps the team to go out when you're under pressure or to play in the way that we were playing in the end."

Newcastle signed three loan players – Slimani, Kenedy and Martin Dubravka – on loan in January.

Kenedy and Dubravka have made significant impacts at the club, and Slimani – who had an injury when he arrived – has now made a contribution in what was only his second appearance for United.

"We were lucky enough to sign them, and also the comeback of Paul Dummett (from injury)," Benitez told NUFC TV.

Matt Ritchie (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

"We were looking for a left-footed left full-back. Manquillo was doing a good job, but right-footed always give you less time and pace when you want to move the ball.

"I think all these new players, they give us something different and also increase the competition i the squad. It has been really positive."

Click on the video above for a superb series of images of yesterday's game taken by photographer Stephen Dobson

Islam Slimani
Matt Ritchie (Pic: Stephen Dobson)