A Shock - Even By Rafa's Standards!

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Benitez had hinted before the game that he could make some changes to his starting XI given that there was only a three-day turnaround following the 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

In fact, the only change to the team was a surprising one - even by Benitez’s standards - as Javier Manquillo was the one player to come into the team at the expense of DeAndre Yedlin at right-wing-back.

Yedlin had impressed against Huddersfield and, although the American was not injured, the Newcastle backroom staff had run physical tests on all Magpies players and deemed it necessary for the full-back to be rested up so that he is ready to take on West Ham United on Saturday.

It was Manquillo’s first Premier League start since the 0-0 draw with Fulham immediately before Christmas, and seemingly Benitez hoped the Spaniard could expose space down the Clarets’ left-hand side.

While the 24-year-old is suspect defensively and really struggles as an out-and-out full-back in a line of four, he can get forward and provide crosses into the area in attack when utilised as a wing-back, and he even provided the vital assist away at Huddersfield back in mid-December following a swift counter-attack.

And, while Manquillo did not necessarily provide a match-winning moment against Burnley, he played his own small part in what was very much a team victory.

Tasked with staying deeper more often than Yedlin had done at the weekend, Manquillo showed discipline in defence - even if it is evident he is largely clueless when it comes to positioning, it thankfully did not cost his side during this match - as well as a willingness to attack on the occasions such opportunities presented themselves.

Ever since he signed for the Magpies, Manquillo has been derided by a section of supporters - and there is no doubt he is limited.

But Benitez asked the Spaniard to carry out a specific job against the Clarets as the United manager looked to utilise his squad, and Manquillo did not let his compatriot down. Yedlin will likely return this weekend, but Manquillo can reflect positively on what was a decent enough personal display.