Rafa Benitez says Aleksandar Mitrovic could yet have a future at Newcastle United.
The striker this week joined Fulham on loan until the end of the season.
Mitrovic had been used sparingly by Benitez up to his deadline day departure.
And the Serbia international was desperate to play regular football ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals.
Asked if there was a way back for Mitrovic, United manager Benitez said: “My relationship with him is fine. He’s a nice lad.
“You pick your team. I don’t need to worry about my ego. I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego.
I don’t need to worry about my ego. I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego. My priority to win games.Rafa Benitez
“My priority to win games. You pick your team thinking ‘this is the best team for me’.
“It was clear that he wanted, and needed, to play games. Now he has an opportunity.
“Hopefully, he’ll score 25 goals.
“We’ll be happy with that. He’ll have more value. He will come here and say ‘I’m a new player, you have to trust me because I’ve scored 25 goals’. Fine, no problem.”
Meanwhile, Steve Nickson, Newcastle’s head of recruitment, has already started work ahead of the summer transfer window.
Benitez said: “On Thursday, I was talking with Steve Nickson and the scouting team who have been working so hard for all these months.
“I said ‘listen, take some holidays’. Some of them are already just analysing for the summer.
“We are doing a review now of the players that we were following, how they were doing and all these things. They’re doing that already.”
Meanwhile, Benitez doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Asked who wouldn’t be involved, Benitez said: “At the moment, (Jesus) Gamez. (Rob) Elliot has been training, even (Florian) Lejeune has been training, but still it’s too soon for him. The others have to wait.”