Why Mitrovic is being benched at Newcastle, reveals McClaren

Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic
Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Steve McClaren has revealed why Aleksandar Mitrovic is on bench duty for Newcastle United.

The summer signing has been an unused substitute for the relegation-threatened Tynesiders’ last two games.

And Mitrovic could again be on the bench for tomorrow’s game against in-form Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, with McClaren reluctant to change a winning team after last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool.

The striker was left out after a disappointing performance in the home defeat to Leicester City last month.

Head coach McClaren feels his dip in form was down to a “bad time” on international duty with Serbia. Mitrovic reportedly rowed with a team-mate after a 4-1 defeat to the Czech Republic last month.

Asked about Mitrovic’s absence from the starting XI, McClaren said: “It was generally viewed that during the international break he kind of had a bad time with Serbia.

“It looked as if he needed to come out of it a little bit, which he will do and recharge those batteries. He’s doing that.”

McClaren fielded Papiss Cisse and Siem de Jong up front against Liverpool, and he believes the pair’s experience was a factor in the success.

“One of the reasons why we probably got the result was that the team was a little bit more experienced with the likes of Siem de Jong and Papiss up front,” said McClaren.

“I think our average age must have shot right up.

“And (Cisse and de Jong), leading from the front, actually made a big difference to us in terms of that mentality and experience of these big occasions.”