Rafa Benitez’s message to ‘passionate’ Aleksandar Mitrovic at Newcastle

Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. Picture by Frank Reid
Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. Picture by Frank Reid

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been told to be patient at Newcastle United – as his chance WILL come.

Mitrovic scored two goals for Serbia during the international break.

But United manager Rafa Benitez has suggested that he will again be on the bench for this afternoon’s home game against Brentford.

Mitrovic has started just one Championship game for third-placed Newcastle so far this season.

And the 22-year-old has been doing extra sessions with Benitez and his staff in an attempt to force his way into the starting XI.

Benitez spoke to the 22-year-old when he returned to Tyneside this week.

“Me and all of my staff have had these conversations with all of the players – but especially with Mitro,” said Benitez.

“When you see someone trying so hard, you want to help.

“It’s someone who is not playing and not training hard, so you just say that’s normal.

“In this case, he was really unlucky with the suspension in that he missed these games, and then (Dwight) Gayle was doing well.

“But he has kept working hard in the training sessions, and sometimes he is even working too hard.

“Then you try to guide him in the right direction and he continues to work hard, and I was really pleased when he scored the goals (for Serbia).

“I went really quickly to see the goals on the Internet and then see how everything was.

“Then, afterwards, I sent him a message and, as soon as he came back we had this conversation talking about this.

“We were doing some more training because he wants to do extra work after all the training sessions and we have this in place so he can do it.

“But he has to do what is good for him.”

Benitez’s biggest worry concerning “passionate” Mitrovic – who scored in the club’s 6-0 win over Queens Park Rangers last month – is his temperament.

“Someone who has this passion is really good,” said Benitez.

“The only thing that is wrong with that is he has to control this. We have spoken about it before that he needs to control his temper and these things.

“My job is to give him advice and continue monitoring him and being sure he has this control.

“I had this situation last year and I have this same situation this year.

“I have to play a team, but the others they have to put me under pressure in a positive way. That means training harder and being competitive.

“Mitrovic is this kind of player.

“He is trying to improve, but to be fair I have a lot of players like that who are training really well.

“When I have to decide who to play, it is not easy.

“Then you have to try and explain to them that maybe they will not play this week, but they have to be ready because they will not play for now. They need to understand that they must be ready.

“One player said to me he had to know if he was playing, while another one just said to me ‘listen, I am always ready. I am professional and my job is to be ready’.”