Aleksandar Mitrovic lifts lid on Newcastle exit and reveals why he couldn't play in Rafa Benitez's system

Aleksander Mitrovic insists he hold no grudges against Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez.
Aleksander Mitrovic insists he hold no grudges against Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has lifted the lid on his exit from Newcastle United and revealed he could not play in the way Rafa Benitez wanted him to.

The Serbian fell out-of-favour with Benitez and dropped down the pecking order with the likes of Dwight Gayle and Joselu ahead of him last season.

His lack of game time saw the striker loaned out to Fulham, where he enjoyed a hugely successful spell by helping them achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Mitrovic returned to Tyneside in the summer after playing at the World Cup for Serbia.

However he was quickly shipped out with the Cottagers paying £22million plus adds-on for the 23-year-old.

Throughout his time under Benitez, Mitrovic insisted he tried his best to nail down a regular spot in the starting 11 but pointed towards the Spaniard's "defence and counter-attack" style as something that didn't suit his game because "he couldn't play that way".

“I tried to give my best but it wasn’t me," Mitrovic told the Daily Mail.

“I was just running and getting in the team shape.

"He told me what he wanted and I tried but I am 90 kilos and if I run so much defensively I have no power left when I am in the box. He knew I couldn’t play in that style and I felt it too.

“Defensively he was one of the best and you can see that when they play, but personally I like to be close to the opponents’ box. I need crosses and service.”

Since joining Fulham, Mitrovic has maintained his fine goal scoring form to net four goals in as many top-flight games.

Mitrovic believes he owes a lot to current manager and fellow Serbian Slavisa Jokanović for reigniting his career in West London - but insists he hold no grudges with Benitez.

He said: “I try to pay Slavisa back because he did everything to bring me here. Sometimes I will score and sometimes I won’t, but I give 100 per cent for him.

“Benitez is a great person and in the end I shook his hand.”