Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez revealed what advice his gave to his in-form striker Dwight Gayle prior to his side's encounter with Leeds United, following an incident on a night out in Liverpool last weekend.
“Listen, if you want to make sure nobody talks too much about that, score goals”. Benitez said.
The 26-year-old had his front teeth knocked out after an altercation that saw Gayle hit unconscious.
With rumours over whether he was fit to play at Elland Road on Sunday, Gayle responded by notching two against the Whites in a 2-0 win, which sent the Magpies five points clear at the top of the Championship.
The £10 million man told after the game: “There was no doubt I’d play, I was fine”.
Benitez effect continues
Benitez has steadied the ship at Newcastle United. With the Toon Army backed as the bookies’ pre-season favourites to make an instant return to the Premier League, the Spaniard has kept his players on level ground, which is now beginning to show.
Also, the 56-year-old showed his man-management skills with Gayle by making sure the forward responded by doing his talking on the pitch to put the negative front page headline behind him.
Even after United made it eight wins in a row that equalled a club record, and stretching their lead to nine points on third-placed Reading, Benitez told themirror: “We are in a strong position now, but there are still too many games to play, we know that it is difficult.”
“We have to fight against complacency” is what Benitez had to say to any fans who may be fooled into over-confidence.
The former Liverpool boss has engaged with a so far successful rotation policy on Tyneside this term. He has arguably used this as a motivation technique for his players, which comes on board with positive results. “The players have to compete for their places and if they understand that, then every week the team will be strong” stated Benitez.