Newcastle United got back to winning ways with an important victory against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that there is no way that Salomon Rondon would have got through anything like the full 90 minutes of Newcastle's win over Huddersfield at the weekend in previous years, believing that Rafa Benitez has worked miracles with the striker.
The Magpies have eased some of their relegation fears by beating the Terriers 1-0. And it was Rondon who bagged the decisive goal as the Venezuelan got on the end of a Javier Manquillo cross 10 minutes into the second-half.
It was a tough afternoon for Benitez's men, but they managed to secure a vital win that lifts them four points above the bottom three in the Premier League.
And after featuring for 81 minutes at the John Smith's Stadium, Rondon's performance was lauded by Crooks, who also felt that Benitez deserves a large amount of praise for the work that he has done with the striker.
"In seasons gone by Salomon Rondon would never have lasted the 90 minutes - his fitness levels would never have allowed it," he told BBC Sport. "A much fitter Rondon is not only leading the line effectively for Rafa Benitez's Newcastle, but is looking a real goal threat upfront.
"Benitez is performing miracles again with these players."
Newcastle have now won four of their last seven games and have put some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone. If they can beat Fulham on Saturday, it will be a much brighter Christmas for Benitez's men than many would have expected at the end of October.
Rondon's form has been a key reason for their turnaround. He has scored four goals in his last six appearances for the Magpies to start looking like the kind of striker that Benitez desperately needs him to be.
Newcastle are certainly not out of the woods yet, but there have been plenty of encouraging signs in recent weeks. And Rondon's improvement is definitely one of those.
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