Rafa Benitez responds to Aleksandar Mitrovic's latest interview on his Newcastle career
Rafa Benitez has responded to Aleksandar Mitrovic's comments about his handing of the striker at Newcastle United.
Benitez sold Mitrovic to Fulham this summer and signed Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto.
Mitrovic has scored five Premier League goals so far this season, while Rondon and Muto have two goals between them in all competitions.
Both clubs are in the relegation zone ahead of this weekend's fixtures.
Mitrovic – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham –spoke to BBC Sport about his time at Newcastle under Benitez.
"We just didn't suit each other," says Mitrovic. "I didn't suit his tactics, and I didn't really feel comfortable to play, so he couldn't get the best out of me."
Asked about Mitrovic's comments, Benitez said: “I appreciated Mitro.
"It's time to think about our strikers. He's a great lad. Hopefully, he can do really well. Hopefully, we can finish higher than Fulham. We have to think about ours, and it’s good Rondon is back (from injury).
“I am really pleased with my strikers and hopefully they can start to score goals. It is a long distance race and hopefully we will score goals.
Mitrovic also spoke about the intensity of life on Tyneside as a United player.
"It was really hard in Newcastle," the 24-year-old said. "It was one city, one club. Everybody there was really crazy about Newcastle."
“When I decided to come here to Newcastle United Football Club, it’s because the potential of the club, the passion of the fans, the city, everyone wanting to follow the team," said Benitez, speaking ahead of tomorrow's game against Southampton.
"I like this passion, and, as a manger, you want to see this kind of passion from the fans.
“My experience of Valencia, Extremadura … even Milan, where there are two teams, the fans are behind the team, passion. I like that.
“Believe me if you go to Naples you will feel the pressure. I will see Naples in a positive way because my relationship was fantastic with them. If everyone loves football you feel that passion. We have to expect and enjoy that."