Manager tears into Benitez for management of Newcastle 22-year-old
By Danny Wright
Serbia manager Slavoljub Muslin has destroyed Rafa Benitez for his handling of Aleksandar Mitrovic after the striker continues to show better form for his country than at Newcastle United.
Mitrovic, 22, has scored eight goals in his last 10 appearances for Serbia but his record at St. James’ Park in recent months has been patchy to say the least.
The Tyneside target man has found the net in each of his only two appearances of the new season, but last term the ex-Anderlecht ace struggled in the Championship, scoring just six times in 29 matches across all competitions.
This has led Muslin to suggest that Benitez doesn’t have enough belief in Mitrovic and has questioned the Spanish manager’s tactics and whether they suit the Serbian forward.
“Maybe the system we play with three attackers suits him better,” said Muslin, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
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“Perhaps the coach in Newcastle doesn’t have as much confidence in him as I do. He is our first centre forward. Perhaps he feels more comfortable playing for the national team than he does for his own club.”
Muslin’s comments will no doubt irk Benitez, who has a much more impressive repertoire than his Serbian counterpart having won the Champions League with Liverpool and two La Liga titles with Valencia.
Mitrovic has also struggled to be the No 1 choice of striker at St. James’ Park since he signed from Anderlecht in 2015.
Last season he played second fiddle to the in-form Dwight Gayle while it seems that Joselu’s summer arrival this year means that he is likely to spend a lot of his time on the bench again.
In other Newcastle United news, Magpies fans have urged the club to get on the phone and snap up this free agent striker with 29 international caps.