Rafa Benitez has revealed what he told Joselu before he took to the field against Liverpool.
The striker had missed a series of chances in Newcastle United’s previous two games.
He just had to make sure he worked hard for the team, won the ball in the air, held up the ball and linked the attack with midfield.Rafa Benitez
But Benitez – who had Aleksandar Mitrovic available from suspension – kept faith with Joselu.
And the 27-year-old was in the right place at the right time to score Newcastle’s 36th-minute equaliser in yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool.
Jonjo Shelvey played a superb through ball for Joselu.
Joel Matip, tracking Joselu, slid into challenge him, and the ball rebounded off his shin and into the net to cancel out Philippe Countinho’s stunning opening goal.
United manager Benitez had spoken to Joselu before the Premier League match.
“I told him before the game that he didn’t have to worry about missing opportunities,” said Benitez, who signed Joselu from Stoke City for £5million in August.
“He just had to make sure he worked hard for the team, won the ball in the air, held up the ball and linked the attack with midfield.
“He put in a lot of hard work, and this time he scored a goal as well.
“You can’t ask for more.”
Liverpool were dominant before the break.
But Newcastle limited their chances in the second half and created opportunities of their own in a late push.
And Benitez – who felt his ninth-placed team should have drawn away to Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion this season – had to be content with a point.
“I wasn’t happy with the results against Huddersfield and Brighton,” said Benitez.
“I thought we deserved more, so when you play against one of the top teams who are creating a lot of chances against everyone, you have to be happy.
“They had the possession. We had to play counter-attack, and we can be a little bit better in the way we play counter attack.
“We knew Coutinho could shoot from there.
“But we knew everyone of their attacking players was dangerous and it’s impossible to stop them all of the time.
“The lads did a great job, and maybe with a bit more composure on the ball, we could have scored another goal.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left St James’s Park frustrated after seeing his team again fail to take their chances.
“I thought we were the more active and the better side and created more chances, which we should used use,” said Klopp.
“We should have won. I have to accept it. If you dominate, you cannot avoid each counter-attack.
“I cannot imagine one situation where they had a chance on the counter attack.”
On Joselu’s goal, Klopp added: “It was a good pass (from Shelvey) for the goal, at the right moment.
“For me, it looked like the centre-halves didn’t see the ball with Shelvey, because two or three players are in front of them.
“If they see it, they have to make a step and Joselu is offside.
“In the end, it’s unlucky.”
Liverpool are seventh in the tarble.
“We are in a quite good shape and in a quite good situation,” said Klopp.
“I think it’s really difficult in a game against a very good organised Newcastle team to create this moment with more confidence, and then we will be not only one win in seven but maybe three in seven or four. It’s more natural.
“As long as we do it like this, I’m not concerned.”