Ayoze Perez: Newcastle have to keep this winning feeling
The striker headed the Magpies to a much-needed victory with his first goal of the season.
Match-winner Ayoze Perez has urged Newcastle to use their first Premier League victory of the season as a springboard to ease themselves out of trouble.
The Spaniard came off the bench to head the Magpies to a 1-0 win over Watford at St James’ Park on Saturday, in the process ending an 11-game wait for three points.
However, he knows a victory which lifted the club out of the bottom three for at least a couple of days is only a start.
Perez said: “It feels great. It has been a tough few weeks, but the team stuck together. We have been working a lot to feel what we are feeling after the Watford game.
“It’s the first win of the season, three points and we are climbing the table – finally. We now have to keep this winning feeling. We must go again next week against Bournemouth.
“We are all together. We train every day and we stick together. We are the only ones who can get us out of this situation.
“This has given us a lot of confidence to win and we deserve it because we worked hard.”
If Perez and his team-mates headed home delighted with an upturn in their fortunes, they did so knowing they had ridden their luck against a Hornets side who were made to pay for missed opportunities.
Gerard Deulofeu wasted two glorious first-half chances and Roberto Pereyra thumped a shot against the crossbar before substitute Stefano Okaka skied a late effort high over.
In the meantime, Perez, who was one of three substitutes introduced either side of half-time after Yoshinori Muto, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey all limped off, had glanced Ki Sung-yueng’s swerving free-kick past Ben Foster to give Newcastle a 65th-minute lead they fought tenaciously to preserve.
The striker was the club’s top scorer last season with 10 goals but has struggled to reproduce that form and has found himself in the firing line of disgruntled fans.
He said: “It hasn’t been an amazing time for myself, but I have been working hard. Maybe it is my personality, I don’t talk too much or complain too much. I always try to keep going. In the end, that always pays off.
“I have been at this club a long time and it always feels great to score for Newcastle. I was top scorer last season.
“But I am the first one to be honest with myself. I always try my best. Sometimes it is enough, sometimes it’s not.”
Watford boss Javi Gracia was left to bemoan the opportunities which went begging, but consoled himself with their creation.
He said: “We can speak about how many players had good chances to score – Stefano, Roberto, crossbar, (Adrian) Mariappa, Gerard, Isaac Success – a lot of players with clear chances.
“I think it’s the way.”