After an uninspiring start to the season, Ayoze Perez sprung to life on Tuesday night.
One of three Newcastle players to be forced from the pitch with a head injury, Ayoze Perez returned to the action with a bandage wrapped around his head and scored within seconds.
Cheltenham weren’t happy but Perez says that both the referee and fourth official had given him permission to come back on.
He produced a lovely curling finish (watch it HERE) to relieve the anxiety of an injury packed half, where the visitors had more than matched Newcastle United.
Ayoze Perez says he is considering retaining the head bandage for Brighton on Saturday to bring him luck, though we will have to wait and see what the team selection is.
Rafa Benitez has indicated that he expects Gayle and Mitrovic to be available despite being forced out of last night’s action with head injuries – but Rolando Aarons looks to have picked up another long-term injury.
Ayoze Perez talking to NUFC TV:
“We knew it would be a tough game…always in the cup you can be defeated by any team – but we were focused in the game and winning through to the next round.
‘Really tough going until that first goal, you got injured just before that – how are you feeling?’
“I fell down and one of them kicked me with his knee, I got a small cut on my ear. The first half was tough but finally we had the chance to score and it was a bit easier in the second half, especially with the (second) goal at the start of that second half.
“It gave us confidence and we were a bit safe and in the next round.”
‘Cheltenham didn’t seem too happy when you came back on and scored, had the referee given you permission to come back on?
“The referee said to come on and the fourth official as well, so I think everything was alright with what I did.”
‘How’s the ear?’
“It is a bit swollen, a bit bloody, but after the win much easier to live with it.”
‘Must have been happy with that finish for your first goal?’
“Yes it was a great finish, straight back from the injury.
“A great game in an important minute (just before half-time) and really happy to score – this time it was twice.
“I could have scored another one, for the hat-trick, but the important thing was the win, to win well, and the performance – to be in the next round.”
‘Unselfish by Dwight Gayle on that second goal?’
“Yes, of course, it was a really good pass. I was coming from the back and he saw me, we pressed the play really well and then we broke really well and scored.
“So yes, thank you to him for that pass.”
‘Are those two goals just what you needed to get your season up and running?’
“Yes, especially for me, I need to score goals, for my position.
“Also for my confidence, it goes higher if I get in the scoresheet – so really happy to score twice and focus on the next game.”
‘So will you wear the bandage every game for luck…?’
“I was thinking about it after the game…to start using it every match, as it gave me luck and two goals. Though with the bandage my hair is not quite as it should be!”
‘Brighton a tough game?’
“They are all tough but especially this one, they are going to be up there I think. They almost got promoted last year so going to be a hard game but just need the same way – three wins in a row, that is the way.”