Rafa Benitez has claimed that Newcastle were right to sell striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham in the summer, suggesting that the Serbian was 'emotional'.
Mitrovic made the move to west London for £20m after firing the Cottagers to promotion from the Championship last season, scoring 12 times in 20 appearances on loan. This season, he is their top scorer in the Premier League with seven goals - two more than Newcastle's top scorer Salomon Rondon.
Mitrovic, who was a popular figure among the Newcastle fans during his time on Tyneside, returns to face his former club on Saturday afternoon, and speaking in his pre match press conference, Benitez stood by the club's decision to sell the striker.
"Were we right or wrong? We got promoted, we won the Championship, we were right," Benitez began, as quoted by the Mirror.
"Then, we finished 10th - so we were right. Now, we are ahead of Fulham - so, at the moment, we are right. We are doing well without him.
Benitez also insisted that there was no falling out with him and Mitrovic, insisting that he simply couldn't provide him with the regular game time he needed.
"Mitro is emotional but there was never a personal issue. There was a situation where he wanted to play so had to go because I couldn’t guarantee he would play.
"You have a vision, and you see the stats. But I can analyse the games, the way that he was playing, and also every training session with us. Is he a good player? Yes. Can he score goals for Fulham? Yes. But, for us, maybe we needed something different.
"Maybe because he was not playing his confidence was low, and now it is high. But we needed more mobility. He can work for Fulham. He's doing well. He's playing well, he's scoring goals for them, he's working really hard, so I think he will be happy at the moment."