Ayoze Perez made his first start for a month when helping Newcastle beat Brentford 3-1 on Saturday.
The Spaniard saying that he had desperately needed a full 90 minutes and hopes to keep his place on Tuesday night at Barnsley.
Rafa Benitez had given Mohamed Diame a rare day off in the role behind the main striker and Ayoze Perez was given his chance, rather than wide left as most of his starts have been.
Difficult to say if Ayoze Perez was any more effective than Diame has been (our player ratings by fans showed Perez with the lowest rating of all) and certainly the former Tenerife player hasn’t got the work rate of Diame.
The last time Newcastle had Championship matches in such quick succession, Rafa Benitez played Diame/Gayle at Derby on the Saturday, then a whole fresh pairing of Mitrovic/Perez on the Tuesday at QPR.
That match of course saw a crushing 6-0 away win but since then there has been no further chances for a Mitro/Perez partnership. To be fair, last season most of the Spaniard’s best games happened when he was given a role close to Mitrovic but with Dwight Gayle clearly the first choice number nine, it is difficult to see many opportunities for that pairing to be given many other run-outs this season.
Ironically, Ayoze Perez says that it is ‘really hard when you get a lot of games week by week’, he will be hoping he gets the chance to experience that over the course of the next few weeks.
Ayoze Perez speaking to NUFC TV:
“It felt really well (playing v Brentford), happy to be back (last start was defeat to Wolves a month earlier) in the team.
“It was quite hard after a few games with no minutes but really happy because we win, we had a good performance. Happy to get 90 minutes and I needed it, now I need to keep working hard , there is competition in every position and we need to fight for every place.
“You have to be focused, do your job, do your best. The mentality of the team is good and of course we are winning.”
‘Winning must breed confidence?’
“Yes it always helps and the gaffer is always telling us to focus on the next game because it is a long way. We are doing well but we can do even better.
“We are going to Barnsley to get the three points and all the focus is on this game.”
‘The games are coming thick and fast for the next month, is that the way you like it when you are winning?’
“Sometimes it becomes quite hard because after the last game you have to start thinking of the next one.
“It is really hard when you get a lot of games week by week but we knew it was going to be this hard.
“Barnsley score a lot of goals, they concede goals, so we will see. We are ready to do our game.”
‘A point behind Norwich, how important is it to keep pressure on them?’
“I don’t think we should be watching the table or the other teams. We should only focus on our job and if we keep on winning every game we will be up there at the end of the season.
“Confidence is growing and everybody knows each other even more.
“Really hope to keep my place and we are fighting, hopefully another three points.”