Rafa Benitez has a strong message for Joselu’s critics at Newcastle

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Rafa Benitez has told Newcastle United fans to lay off the boos – and get behind Joselu.

The striker is set to start against Leicester City at St James’s Park this afternoon in the absence through injury of Salomon Rondon.

You have to have is players that care. You can see the workrate of Joselu in every single game is good. And he has scored some goals, too.

Rafa Benitez

Rondon, forced off against Crystal Palace with an thigh problem last weekend, is set to be out for at least a fortnight.

Joselu – who has scored two goals so far this season – has his critics on Tyneside.

However, Benitez feels that 28-year-old is under-appreciated.

Asked if the criticism was unfair, Benitez said: “In football, you have short memories in general.

“The fans, they have to realise that we were relegated to the Championship, and then we went back to the Premier League.

“Some of the players that are not here now, they could still be here, and they were very, very important players.

“With all of what has happened, and with the Championship in between, during the transfer windows we have signed players that could give us something.

“The first year we needed players who would help us get promoted. And we did it. Then we needed players who would help us stay up, and we did it finishing 10th.

“Then in a team, in a squad, you have to have players that have a value, and another value. But what you have to have is players that care. You can see the workrate of Joselu in every single game is good. And he has scored some goals, too.

“He is doing what he has to do in a team like us who, normally, will not have too much possession. We have to defend, we have to try to be sure we are in the right position without the ball.

“Then, after, you expect ‘well he has to be in the box’. Yeah, but we need to defend, because if not we cannot regain the ball. So I think he’s one of the players who works harder than anyone.

“You can say ‘oh, the strikers they have to score goals’. Yeah, fine, but you have to take everything in context. I believe he’s a good player for us, he is giving everything, and that’s it.”