Newcastle United briefing: Florian Lejeune recall in spotlight, Rafa Benitez on TV games

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United left the St Mary's Stadium disappointed – despite taking a valuable point.

Southampton twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Rafa Benitez's side yesterday.

Manolo Gabbiadini scored from the spot after the recalled Florian Lejeune conceded a 75th-minute penalty.

READ MORE: Miles Starforth’s match analysis: Southampton 2 Newcastle United 2

Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez had netted for Newcastle, who remain ninth in the Premier League.

Here's your daily briefing:

Isaac Hayden is mobbed by team-mates

Isaac Hayden is mobbed by team-mates

Competition

Benitez recalled Lejeune to his starting XI at the expense of Ciaran Clark, who had been away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

Lejeune had an eventful afternoon, having also had a late header cleared off the line.

“I didn’t see the replay," said Benitez, “From the bench, it seems it was a penalty, and you just want him to manage things a little bit better.

“After, he could have been the hero with the header, but that’s football. It didn’t happen, but it could be good for us.

“Overall, I will say he was not playing since the game against Tottenham.

“He was working very hard, and afterwards during the international break he was training with the team.

“I’m happy, because he’s another good player that will give us more options and more competition in every position, in this case as a centre-back.”

Injury worry

Dwight Gayle came off the bench in the second half.

But the striker, brought on for his pace to relieve the pressure on United's back four, was hampered by a calf problem.

"He had a little problem with his calf," said Benitez. "He was working very hard, but with a problem.

“In the last 10 minutes we were playing with just 10 players, but even then he was still running and he was chasing some balls and passing.

“But we couldn’t use his pace in the last 10 minutes, and that was a pity because we were under pressure and he was maybe the solution for us."

Gayle will now be assessed ahead of Saturday's home game against basement club Crystal Palace.

Balance

A Premier League game could be switched to Christmas Eve for live broadcast - and fans fear Newcastle's game away to West Ham United will be moved.

Six of United's first eight league games have been moved.

And yesterday's 4pm kick-off at the St Mary's Stadium was far from idea for travelling fans.

Benitez has had his say on the TV scheduling of games.

Meanwhile, Benitez has reflected on the club's start to the new season.