Thursday 23 January 2020

Joselu tells Newcastle to keep up the hard work after beating West Ham

Joselu (centre) scored his first Newcastle goal against West Ham
Joselu (centre) scored his first Newcastle goal against West Ham

Newcastle new boy Joselu has told his team-mates they will have to work harder and run further than their opponents if they are to thrive in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old Spaniard marked his first start for the club he joined from Stoke earlier this month with the opening goal in Saturday's 3-0 win over West Ham which secured the Magpies' first points of the season.

That victory went some of the way towards lifting the clouds sitting over St James' Park in recent weeks, although speculation over manager Rafael Benitez's future is continuing amid his desperate attempts to persuade owner Mike Ashley to allow him to compete in what remains of the transfer window.

However, regardless of what happens on Tyneside before Thursday night's deadline, Joselu believes the recipe for success for the promoted side is simple.

He told NUFC TV: "Before the game, we talked in the dressing room: 'We need to win the game, we need to fight, we need to run more than West Ham', and that was important.

"You lose games, you win games - that's the Premier League, all the teams are very good teams with very good squads - but when you work hard and you run more than the other team, you win.

"Of course after 3-0, people will believe in us and think we will win a lot of games, but this is the Premier League. We will try to win all the games - that is the important thing - but we need to work hard and run more than the other teams to win games."

Newcastle did exactly that against the Hammers with the first two goals a case in point.

On both occasions, it was the industry of midfielder Matt Ritchie, who hunted down first Declan Rice and then Manuel Lanzini in possession to open up the way to goal.

Ritchie's harrying allowed the impressive Mikel Merino to feed Christian Atsu, whose selfless 36th-minute pull-back was dispatched by Joselu, and the Scotland international's 72nd-minute cross was perfectly-weighted for defender Ciaran Clark to head past the helpless Joe Hart.

Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic, who could find himself in hot water after catching Lanzini with an elbow, added a third as time ran down, but it was Joselu's goal and performance which provided cause for optimism, and he is confident there is more to come.

The frontman said: "Yes, if course. I'm a striker - all strikers want to score more goals and I'm no different."

If there was relief on Tyneside, the mood surrounding the Hammers camp darkened significantly with manager Slaven Bilic's position a topic for debate in the wake of three successive league defeats.

Skipper Mark Noble called for a united front after admitting that Saturday's display was simply not good enough.

He told the club's official website: "We are going to lose games, we know that, but as a club we need to stick together.

"The West Ham fans, I've known for all my life, and they show their emotions - so they should. That's down to us to make it right on the pitch and I'm sure we'll do that. At this time, we fully need them to get behind us.

"It wasn't good enough, today. We looked like we just didn't get going."

PA Media

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