Rafael Benitez comments on Aleksandar Mitrovic omission

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez does not regret keeping Aleksandar Mitrovic out of the starting lineup at Norwich City.

Quoted by The Chronicle, Rafael Benitez has insisted that he has no regrets over not starting Aleksandar Mitrovic in Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Norwich City.

Papiss Cisse was preferred to the Serbian marksman up front as the Magpies found themselves 1-0 down with half-an-hour to go at Carrow Road.

The Spanish manager introduced Mitrovic on 62 minutes, with the summer signing from Anderlecht netting twice - included an 87th-minute penalty - as the visitors looked set to win a point to aid them in their relegation battle.

However, Martin Olsson struck a last-gasp winner to break Newcastle hearts, leaving them six points adrift of safety - albeit with a game in hand.

When it was put to the ex-Real Madrid boss if he regretted not starting the 21-year-old marksman, Benitez said: “Not really, he came late after the international break," he said via The Chronicle. “We have players flying around the world and players training with you.

“When we were 1-0 down we had to play everyone in attack. The substitutions worked well but you have to decide before the game who is in form or who has done well in training during the whole week. You need to see who can help.”


Defeat was a hammer blow for Newcastle, who remain 19th but have fallen six points behind the Canaries in 17th. They have a game in hand, but it is Manchester City at St James's Park on April 19.


They are in real trouble, and the defeat at Norwich might prove to be a defining moment in an otherwise miserable season.

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