Rafa Benitez is pinning his hopes on this Newcastle player

Salomon Rondon
Salomon Rondon

Rafa Benitez is desperate to have Salomon Rondon back fit – to fire Newcastle United up the Premier League.

Rondon has been sidelined for the past four weeks with a thigh injury.

We just need to increase the competition for places, with Rondon or anyone who can help with the team if they come with the energy that you need.

Rafa Benitez

But the on-loan striker could be back fit for Saturday’s game against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium.

Newcastle were beaten 1-0 by Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend – despite having 27 shots.

The result left the club propping up the league.

“We just need to increase the competition for places, with Rondon or anyone who can help with the team if they come with the energy that you need,” said Benitez.

“When something is wrong, maybe another approach, a different mentality with more desire this time, it can help. We have to be sure that we have that competition.”

Benitez’s position is coming under increasing scrutiny after a winless start to the season.

Asked if he was feeling the pressure, Benitez said: “No. I’m just upset. We’re analysing everything.

“We knew it was in our hands, and we didn’t take our chances. We just have to continue to play like this and convert the chances and improve a little bit more.”