Rodriguez scored a stunning goal on debut for Newcastle, before registering an assist in a draw with Melbourne City in January, but Merrick believes he and fellow signing Riley McGree are still learning the ropes.Β 

β€œPato’s been terrific - he’s never really been a goalscorer, he’s always been a person that delivers crosses into the box, and now he’s getting in the box and scoring some fantastic goals," Merrick said.

β€œI’d like to get him to do that more often during matches.

β€œHe’s just one of a couple of players who are fairly new. Riley McGree is getting the hang of how we play and is picking it up very quickly.

β€œIf we can take advantage of this over the next five or six weeks going into the finals we can be a better team, and that’s what we focus on.”

Following an impressive start, Rodriguez has failed to light up the A-League over the past few matches, feeling the pressure of marquee status at a club vying for the Championship.Β 

β€œThat’s always the case, I think, when you come from overseas,” Merrick said.

β€œNow that he’s learning how we play and how we can be of service to him, he’s becoming a much more dangerous player, whereas in the past he’s always felt he’s the one who’s had to create things for himself or for other players.

β€œI think we’ve got a player who’s got a lot of goals in him.”