Rafa Benitez has explained his decision to leave Daryl Murphy out of his Newcastle United squad.
The striker didn’t travel to last week’s game at Norwich City.
We had 25 players available the other today, so we had to make decisions and keep some players out.Rafa Benitez
Benitez instead handed Aleksandar Mitrovic another start and named fit-again Dwight Gayle on his bench at Carrow Road, where Newcastle came from behind to draw 2-2.
United’s manager said he was “disappointed” for Murphy, who turned out in a number of East Anglian derbies during his time at Ipswich Town.
Asked about his decision to leave Murphy behind on Tyneside, Benitez said: “We had 25 players available the other day, so we had to make decisions and keep some players out.
“Dwight Gayle is the top scorer in the league, and if he was coming back, we had to leave someone out.
“Mitro was starting, so it had to be Daryl. Sometimes, you are disappointed for players, because they are so good as professionals and they give you everything.
“But you have to decide. When you have 18, the others cannot be on the bench.”
Gayle missed almost a month of football with the hamstring problem he suffered after scoring his 20th goal of the season,
Asked about Gayle’s enforced rest, Benitez said: “You can take a positive view about Dwight having had a rest, but that is not for me.
“Physically, he was fine, so maybe having been able to keep him scoring goals would have been better.
“We have what we have, though, so hopefully he will have fresh legs between now and the end of the season.
“I’d have liked to have him right the way through.”