Rafael Benitez heaps praise on debutants versus Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has heaped praise on debutants Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon, who came as late substitutes during the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Japan international Muto joined the Magpies on a permanent deal from Mainz earlier in the summer whilst Rondon arrived on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion in exchange for Dwight Gayle.

Speaking after the Spurs’ defeat, Benitez was particularly appreciative of the efforts of Muto and Rondon, who managed to make an impact following their introduction onto the playing field, he said: “They did well [Muto and Rondon]. They were trying hard, now it is just about improving the understanding with the rest of their team-mates. So they know what we want to do and how the other team-mates will react. Once they get that, they will be better, but with Muto, Rondon, Joselu and Ayoze (Perez), we have four different kinds of strikers, and that can be good.”

The Magpies were certainly not overwhelmed by the visit of Tottenham during the season opener and they could have quite easily shared the spoils, had a late effort from Rondon found the scoresheet than rattled the woodwork. Nevertheless, the Magpies can take positives from the fact that the team are better equipped upfront with four strikers and hopefully, they can use the personnel to their advantage to score more regularly.

Up next, Newcastle face newly promoted Cardiff City on the road and Benitez would surely be expecting the team to show a better application upfront with the Bluebirds not possessing the best of backlines. Both Muto and Rondon should once more feature but the latter could be called upon from the off to provide the much-needed physical presence. After the Cardiff game, Newcastle have a tough run with Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal to face.