Could He Play Deeper? Rafa Says Yes!

Last updated : 24 March 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

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Mo Diame was deployed in a deeper role in order to cover Jonjo Shelvey’s absence against Birmingham.

Asked about whether Diame could be utilised in a holding-midfield role once again, Rafa Benitez explained: “He could play in that position but it also depends on the players around him.

“Hopefully Hayden will be back in a few days and then we should also have Jonjo back to full strength.

“With Jack as well, that means quite a lot of competition - but it’s good to have options, especially if you have to change something during a game.”

Diame and Ayoze Perez have been interchanged regularly in the No 10 role this season.

However, 29-year-old Diame is more accustomed to playing in the deeper position he occupied at St Andrew’s.

“I thought he was fine,” Benitez said of Diame’s performance in the deep-lying midfield role.

“We knew it could be a difficult game because they have three players in the middle and we had to manage that.

“But I thought Mo gave us some fresh legs and won plenty of second challenges.

“He was fine, he was passing the ball and also regaining some balls that we lost.

“It was just disappointing that maybe some of the things we did in the wide areas could have been better.

“That might have helped us score a goal. It didn’t really happen though.

“I wouldn’t say that we were happy, but maybe one more point with one less game is positive.”