Rafa Benitez reveals the tactic which is paying dividends at Newcastle United
Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune have given Newcastle United a new dimension, according to Rafa Benitez.
The defensive pair have impressed in recent weeks alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Schar and Lejeune are both comfortable bringing the ball out of defence – and Benitez says that their diagonal balls are “crucial” to the team.
Schar, signed from Deportivo La Coruna for £3million, is also dangerous in the final third of the pitch, as he again proved at St James’s Park on Tuesday night when he scored against Burnley with a stunning 30-yard strike.
“We knew that he was quite good on the ball,” Benitez told NUFC TV. “He has time, he was close enough to use his ability, his technical ability, because he can do that.
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“You can see in a lot of games the long, diagonal passes from him, from Lejeune, are crucial for us. The understanding between the three centre-backs now is quite good. We are solid, and at the same we can play from the back and are quite dangerous when we go forward.”
Meanwhile, Benitez is likely to recall DeAndre Yedlin to his starting XI for Saturday's game against West Ham United at the London Stadium, having rested the right-back against Burnley.
“It was just that we knew that we were playing after a few days,” said United’s manager. “Some players, we knew also, could be tired, like Ayoze (Perez) or (Miguel) Almiron, because they were working really hard the other day.
“We knew, more or less, that we cannot afford to make more substitutions, so it was better to change players, to rotate.
“I think Javier (Manquillo) did really well.”