Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has admitted that he didn't intend to play striker Salomon Rondon for 90 minutes against Watford, but claimed the Venezuelan has benefited from the extra game time.
The boss had intended to substitute the on loan West Brom forward around the 70 minute mark in the 1-0 win due to his perceived lack of fitness, but injuries to Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto meant Rondon had to power through and finish the match.
Nervy start here. Rondon the target for #nufc early balls forward - and he's winning plenty in the air.— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) November 3, 2018
Watford look dangerous going forward.
Benitez admitted to being impressed by the striker's fitness and performances in training, telling the Northern Echo:
"His match fitness is still not ideal, and maybe we were expecting him to play just 70 minutes, or something like that. He had to play 90 minutes after the injuries we had, he was working very hard and giving us something different. Then, during the week, he has been training - and, even though we thought he would be tired, he was doing really, really well.
"With all that, I think it was only a good thing for him to have played 90 minutes last week, and hopefully we see that on Saturday.”
Rafa's complimentary words seem to suggest that Rondon will lead the line again for Newcastle against Bournemouth this weekend, as they look to record successive victories for the first time this season after picking up their first win of the campaign against Watford.
Source : 90min