Rafael Benitez hailed Salomon Rondon following his match-winning display against Bournemouth but cannot compare him to Alan Shearer. The Venezuela international scored two first-half goals, the second of them a Shearer-like bullet header, to secure a 2-1 victory at St James’ Park, the Magpies second win in eight days after a barren start to the campaign.
His hold-up play, tireless running and the pressure under which he put the Cherries defence as well as his finishing rekindled memories of some of his predecessors in the famous number nine shirt, but Benitez was keen not to place too much weight on his shoulders.
The Spaniard said: “We are talking about different players, different times. To go close to Alan Shearer would be almost impossible for anyone here, there’s no doubt about that.
“But if the delivery is good like this cross, Salomon can score these kind of goals. I will be fair with the other strikers – they can do it, but you have to have these deliveries all the time.”
Meanwhile, Benitez was also quick to praise the fighting spirit within his side. “We have to give credit to our players, the way that they were fighting for every ball,” he added.
“Against a good team that was in form, it was difficult to stop them and to create. “We scored two great goals and after we had chances on the counter-attack against a team that was pushing and attacking all the time.”