Newcastle United coach Rafael Benitez has explained his decision to pick Ghana midfielder Christian Atsu over Kenedy in the 1-1 stalemate against Watford on Saturday, saying it was due to technical issues.
Atsu missed the Magpies' 4-0 trashing on Boxing Day at the hands of Liverpool but lasted the entire duration at the Vicarage Road. He was even involved in the build-up to Newcastle's opener as he passed the ball to Matt Ritchie who crossed it for Solomon Rondon to score.
“It was a technical decision. I think the other players were training well, and I wanted to give them a chance,” Benitez said, as quoted by ChronicleLive.
"I went with this group of players because they did well in training and proved it against Watford also. I'm impressed with their performance.
"I’m happy with the performance and the effort. The reaction after Liverpool has been quite positive," he added.
Atsu made 13 league appearances including six starts in the first half of the season. He is expected to play against Manchester United at St. James' Park on New Year Day.