Benitez orders Newcastle striker Joselu not to dwell on penalty miss

Date published: Saturday 3rd February 2018 12:58

Striker Joselu has been urged not to dwell on what might have been after passing up the opportunity to drag Newcastle away from the Premier League relegation zone.

The 27-year-old Spaniard missed a first-half penalty and squandered another glorious opportunity in Wednesday night’s home clash with Burnley, and was made to pay at the death when the visitors snatched a point with a late equaliser.

His mood may not have improved hours after the final whistle when he learned that the Magpies had clinched a loan deal for Leicester’s Islam Slimani, but with the Algeria international battling a minor thigh injury, he may yet get another chance at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Manager Rafael Benitez said: “Joselu works so hard for the team and it is a pity when a striker misses a penalty. For strikers, confidence is crucial.

“He was a little bit down the day after, but he has been training well and we will see how he reacts. But my message for him and for any of our players is that they have to carry on.

“We don’t have time to complain or think about what could have happened in the past. We just have to be sure that in the future, we are ready.”

The midweek draw left Newcastle in 14th place in the table, but just a point clear of the drop zone, and that situation might have changed markedly by the time they run out at Selhurst Park.

They have won only two of the 16 league games they have played since they beat the Eagles 1-0 on Tyneside in October, but have fared reasonably well against the sides around them throughout the campaign to date and Benitez is looking for more of the same this weekend.

He said: “Against some teams in the bottom half, we have been more or less fine and now we have to be sure that we continue with this idea that we have enough quality to go there and get three points.

“They are a good team. People were talking at the beginning of the season about their form and I was surprised because they have very good players.

“They (Palace) are a good team and it’s a difficult stadium and a difficult pitch to get points. That’s the Premier League – every game is so difficult. But we have to have confidence that we can do it.”

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