Ayoze Perez hasn’t proved good enough this season.
However, you can hardly single him out in what had been a winless opening 10 matches.
The reality being that only a very small group of players had done themselves justice, the likes of Dubravka and Fernandez, with maybe Shelvey as well up to a point.
With Ayoze Perez, it is probably because he plays in such a crucial role and has just not produced. The number 10 role is key to the success of the team and no goals and only one assists is/was clearly not good enough.
It is ironic then that when dropped, he ended up scoring the winner against Watford.
Did being dropped spur him on or was it just right place and right time, who cares?
You are only bothered about the ball hitting the back of the net at the time but on reflection it was disappointing to see Perez’ reaction to the goal being to stand in front of the celebrating fans with his fingers in his ears. Seemingly a pointed response to those supporters who think he hasn’t deserved his place in the team.
Compared to most clubs, the Newcastle fans have been very restrained this season considering the poor football they have watched from Ayoze Perez AND most of his teammates. In reality, only a very small number of fans have chosen to go vocal with their unhappiness.
Ahead of the Bournemouth match where he looks certain to start after Muto picked up that injury, Ayoze Perez claims he is self-aware and says ‘I’m honest with myself. Nobody needs to tell me if I’m doing well, better or not.’
The bottom line is that for all the players, if they go out and perform then nothing else matters.
The lack of investment in the squad has meant that Rafa and his players have been left open to criticism, much of it unfair – especially for the manager, because of results and where they find themselves in the table.
Even more than last season, the team has to show it is better than the individuals that make it up, consecutive wins via a victory against a skilful and confident Bournemouth side would be another major step forward
“There are two things you can think when you are left out…
“You can think in a bad way, start thinking too much.
“I think the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself.
“Obviously, respect the decision, and then, as soon as you have the opportunity, prove that you’re able to do it. That’s it. That’s the main thing.
“As a footballer, we like to complain and make excuses, but that doesn’t help you.
“In this case, the main thing is to believe in yourself and keep going in the right direction and prove what you can do.
“I’m honest with myself.
“Nobody needs to tell me if I’m doing well, better or not.
“I think, as a footballer, I realise when I’m doing well and I’m not doing well. That is it.
“The thing is how you react to that and how you take it. That’s it.
“It hasn’t been the best performance by me during the beginning of the season, but what is also true is that I’ve had a couple of chances, and with a bit of luck, we would have been talking about something different.”