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Rafa Benitez praises player despite wanting him to leave the club

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has praised the attitude of forward Yoan Gouffran after the Frenchman was selected to start in the 4-1 victory over Reading at St James’ Park last night.

The 30 year old is expected to leave the club during the next two weeks but Benitez told the Evening Chronicle that he is happy that Gouffran was able to be professional and disciplined to put in a good performance:

“It is not easy for any player to think ‘I have to be really concentrated and focused when maybe tomorrow I will leave’, but you have seen examples in the Premier League of players playing one game and then leaving the following day for another team. I’ve said a lot that these players are quite professional. Every training session they are working hard, even the players who know they might leave. He is a good professional, a good player, and we needed a bit of experience in the wide areas. I think he did well.”

Gouffran played a crucial role in the match by setting up Isaac Hayden for the opening goal as well as winning the penalty that winger Matt Ritchie converted to put the Magpies 2-1 up in the match.

Although the forward is expected to leave St James’ Park, his destination is still unknown with there being very little speculation regarding the clubs that would be interested in signing the Frenchman. He joined from Bordeaux in 2013 and was a regular under Alan Pardew before his departure to Crystal Palace. Since then he has been used more sparingly by Steve McClaren and Benitez.

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