Rafa Benitez sets Newcastle star Shearer-style challenge

Rafa Benitez Newcastle United

Rafael Benitez will be happy if Salomon Rondon scores half as many goals for Newcastle as Alan Shearer did.

The Venezuela international’s bullet header in the 2-1 Premier League victory over Bournemouth was among those nominated for Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month for November and had more than a touch of the former Magpies number nine about it.

Shearer scored a record 206 goals for his home-town club and while Benitez knows that is a near- impossible act to follow, he is hopeful that loan signing Rondon can make a significant contribution after taking his tally for the season to four at Everton in midweek.

Benitez said: “I said after the game that I would like to see him scoring goals like Alan Shearer, who scored so many times here. But OK, if he scores half as many, I will be happy anyway.

“He’s scoring goals – that is, for some people, the main thing for the strikers. But at the same time, he’s helping the team to do what we want to do.

“I will say again that [Yoshinori] Muto, Ayoze [Perez] and Joselu, when they are involved, they are doing well, so I am quite happy with them in terms of their effort.

“After, obviously if they can score two goals, each one, it would be better, but if they cannot, at least Rondon is scoring goals.”

Salomon Rondon TEAMtalk

Rondon’s latest strike underlined his growing confidence as he produced an accomplished finish at the far post after meeting Jacob Murphy’s cross at Goodison Park, and he will head into Sunday’s home clash with Wolves gunning for more.

Benitez said: “The other goals have also been very good, so the team has confidence that he can be on the end of crosses or whatever and he can score.”

Wednesday’s 1-1 draw on Merseyside went some way towards erasing the memory of a 3-0 home defeat by West Ham four days earlier which had ended a run of three successive victories.

And Newcastle will be keen to build on that against a Wolves side which stunned Chelsea on the same night.

However, Benitez warned: “They are a very good team. They also have the advantage that they have been with the same manager for a while playing in the same way.

“As I have said before the last few games, good managers, good players means they are good teams.”


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