Rafa Benitez has a message for Newcastle fans after Salomon Rondon’s latest performance

Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon.
Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon.

Rafa Benitez believes Salomon Rondon will get better and better at Newcastle United.

The striker superbly set up DeAndre Yedlin’s goal in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

He’s doing well, but he can still improve. He will need match fitness, so we need to play games.

Rafa Benitez

Rondon – who had scored his first goal for the club last week’s Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest – has been playing catch-up with his fitness since joining the club on loan from West Bromwich Albion before last month’s transfer deadline.

Benitez said: “He’s doing well, but he can still improve.

“He will need match fitness, so we need to play games.

“He will continue training, and hopefully we will see the best of him in a few months.

“I think he is giving us something, but he can still improve.

“He came after an injury with West Brom, and came late. Now, these games are very important for him.”

Rondon – who was replaced by Joselu in the 73rd minute – was isolated up front for much of the game as his team-mates defended.

“I was pleased with him (Rondon), but it is also good to give credit to Joselu,” said United manager Benitez.

“Salomon did a great job, he was holding the ball and bringing players into the game and fighting with the centre-backs on his own sometimes.

“They were trying to support him. When Joselu came on the pitch when Salomon was a little bit tired, he was flicking the ball on and trying to do something different.

“With both players now, we have two players with mobility and a good physical presence, and they can give us something.

“Now, we have to be sure that the players around – (Yoshinori) Muto, Ayoze (Perez), (Christian) Atsu, (Matt)Ritchie, Jacob (Murphy), Kenedy – give us something so we can maximise the strengths of the strikers.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle, loaned to West Brom as part of the Rondon deal, netted twice in the Championship club’s 2-1 win over Stoke City at The Hawthorns on Saturday.