Rafael Benitez stunned by Salomon Rondon in Newcastle United training

Rafael Benitez the head coach

Newcastle United forward Salomon Rondon played 90 minutes last weekend, which wasn't Rafael Benitez's plan.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford FC at St. James Park on November 3, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United...

Rafael Benitez has told the Northern Echo that Salomon Rondon has been far better than he thought he would be in Newcastle United training.

Rondon was brought to Newcastle from West Bromwich Albion in the summer, and he initially struggled for fitness.

However, the striker was brought back to start against Watford, as Newcastle picked up a 1-0 victory.

Benitez had planned to play the target-man for around an hour, but Newcastle picked up three injuries in the second-half, which meant Rondon had to play the entire match.


Benitez predicted that Rondon would be fatigued this week, due to his exertions last Saturday.

But the Spanish boss claims that Rondon has been surprisingly good in training.

"I think it will benefit him to have played for 90 minutes, even if it isn't what we were planning [before the Watford game],” Benitez said.

"His match fitness is still not ideal, and maybe we were expecting him to play just 70 minutes, or something like that, against Watford.

Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon

"He had to play 90 minutes after the injuries we had, he was working very hard and giving us something different. Then, during the week, he has been training - and, even though we thought he would be tired, he was doing really, really well.

"With all that, I think it was only a good thing for him to have played 90 minutes last week, and hopefully we see that on Saturday.”

Newcastle’s win over Watford was their first of the season, and took them out of the relegation zone.

Benitez’s side are next in action at the weekend, when they take on Bournemouth.

Salomon Rondon of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 11, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United...

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