Sports News of Monday, 28 November 2016
The coach of Blackburn Owen Coyle has refuted suggestions that Newcastle United fielded a weakened side against Blackburn Rovers – insisting he would love to have quality players such as Christian Atsu at his own disposal.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez made six changes for the 1-0 defeat against Rovers at St James’ Park, with captain Jamaal Lascelles and Championship top-scorer Dwight Gayle both among the Magpies to be rotated to the bench.
Yet Coyle does not believe those alterations weakened the United side, stressing that he would “love” to be able to bring players of the quality of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Christian Atsu into his side.
The Blackburn manager also highlighted the fact Newcastle signed one of Rovers’ “biggest assets” in Grant Hanley for £6million over the summer, yet the Scotland international defender struggles to even get on the bench for some United matches.
In Coyle’s opinion, Newcastle will still win the league, despite this shock home defeat.
“The only thing I would say is I would love to have a Mitrovic, I would love to have an Atsu,” Coyle replied when asked if the half-a-dozen changes Benitez made helped his side.
“They are the sort of outstanding players that are coming in, and they are the luxury they have.
“If you want to put it in those terms, one of our biggest assets was sold to Newcastle for £6million, and he’s not making the team.
“That shows you the work we’ve got to do”.