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After two defeats at the start of the season, everyone was nervous at St James’ Park, so a 3-0 win against terrible West Ham brought a huge relief. The Magpies were looking good, especially in the final third, and they managed to score three times after poor performance in first two matches.
Dwight Gayle was unavailable for the clash against West Ham, so Rafa Benitez started with two Spaniards in the front – Ayoze Perez and Joselu, and the former Stoke player scored an opening goal.
But after Aleksandar Mitrovic took his chance (he replaced Joselu in the 72nd minute), and made it 3-0, Serbian guy showed who’s the fans’ favorite forward. The whole stadium started the old song – Mitro’s on fire!
Mitro lost Rafa’s confidence
Aleksandar Mitrovic came from Belgian side Anderlecht to St James’ Park two years ago, and with big expectations on his shoulders, he didn’t fulfill his bright talent.
After an average first season in the Premier League where he bagged nine goals in 34 games, everyone expected he would lead the Magpies through the Championship. But it didn’t happen.
He managed to score only four goals in 25 matches last season, and it was evident that he lost the manager’s confidence. Rafa Benitez preferred to play with only one man in the front, and it was Dwight Gayle, who had a tremendous season with 23 goals in 32 caps.
Mitro was mostly coming off the bench, and he didn’t attain his top form throughout the season.
After Rafa Benitez brought Joselu from La Coruna, there were a lot of rumors about Mitro’s future, as nobody expected to see him in Rafa’s plans. But Mitrovic wanted to prove his value to his coach and team.
Mitro’s qualities could be crucial if someone controls his temper
Mitro was always eccentric, and even in his young days in Partizan Belgrade and U21 Serbia squad, he was showing a problematic character. Arguing with opponents, referees, and sometimes with himself is in Mitro’s blood.
But he’s a deadly striker. A player who can make the difference on the pitch, at the same time the poacher and a target man who can involve his teammates.
And for those qualities, someone at Newcastle needs to take care of him. Mitro’s celebration after he scored like he was trying to shut someone’s mouth, tells us a lot.
After the victory, he stated that he has something to prove in Newcastle and he wants to stay.
But he also noticed that he feels like there’s no faith in his abilities and behavior. And he’s not helping here: In the 80th minute he elbowed Manuel Lanzini, and for that incident, he’s been charged with violent conduct.
Now he’s facing a three match ban, and it could be a decisive factor regarding his future. But if Rafa wants to use Mitro’s qualities, he has to restrain his temper.
Otherwise, we could see a Serbian striker out of St James’ Park very soon.
The competition is not stiff
There are no stars in Newcastle’s attack, and it could be a real problem for Rafa Benitez.
Dwight Gayle needs to prove himself on the highest level, and it’s the same thing with Ayoze Perez. On the other hand, Joselu played for five different teams in last five seasons, and that tells a lot about his qualities.
So, Rafa is going to need the best possible Mitro, and that could be the biggest reinforcement to his side.
Written by Oliver Zivic
Follow Oliver on Twitter @guli86
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