Ayoze Perez is gunning for more goals after giving Rafa Benitez a timely reminder of his finishing.
Perez scored twice in Newcastle United’s 3-0 win over Ipswich Town on Saturday.
The result saw the club move three points clear at the top of the Championship ahead of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup tie against Preston North End.
Perez replaced Mohamed Diame in his starting XI for the Ipswich game.
And the 23-year-old opened the scoring just 59 seconds into the match with a neat finish after a Paul Dummett cross was flicked to him at the far post.
Perez eventually put the game beyond Ipswich with a second goal in the 73rd minute.
Hopefully, there are more goals to come. I’m confident. I’m really pleased to be able to score and give the team the lead.Ayoze Perez
The Spain Under-21 international set up United’s third goal, scored by Matt Ritchie.
“I’m really pleased because of the two goals and the assist,” said Perez, whose goal tally for the season in all competitions now stands at five.
“It’s always really nice to score for Newcastle, but the most important thing is the three points.
“As we have seen, any team can beat you.
“It’s important to keep doing well, performing and fighting. We are up there, and we need to keep fighting.
“Hopefully, there are more goals to come. I’m confident.
“My confidence is growing step by step. It’s important to me. I’m really pleased to be able to score and give the team the lead.”
On his first-minute goal, Perez said: “It was really quick. That gave to the team a bit of confidence. We were a bit more comfortable on the pitch, and did really well.”
The second goal, set up by Ritchie, was all-important.
“It was even more important,” said Perez.
“They were pushing. We had the control, but it was still 1-0. It was an important game and a good moment. Then we scored another one, so everyone was happy.”
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez felt Perez, fielded in the No 10 role, had followed his instructions to the letter against Mick McCarthy’s side.
“He is a clever player, but we know that he has to be stronger and then to use his quality and movement,” said Benitez.
“He needs to manage the game like he did against Ipswich. He knew exactly what we were expecting him to do, and he did it perfectly.
“Also, he has been working hard, so when you have a player with talent who is also working hard, it’s a bonus for the team.
“I’m really happy after this win. It was really important for us. It was a tough game.”
Perez, however, is not certain of a start against Preston in the cup – or against the same club in the league at Deepdale on Saturday.
Asked about Benitez’s rotation policy, he said: “That makes you feel like you have to take your chance once you are on the pitch.
“When you are in the team, you have to give everything.
“That’s it. You have to be ready.
“We have a big squad, and whoever is on the pitch has to perform.
“That’s the most important thing. We are doing it.”
Benitez has repeatedly insisted that he is not yet looking at the Championship table, and Perez, for his part, is reluctant to look beyond the next game.
And Perez said: “We have to look at the next game (and not the table).
“We have the cup. We have to keep going forward in this competition. Then we see what happens.
“We have two games against the same team. It’s going to be really tough.
“We have to focus and keep doing the same thing.”
Perez hopes to ease the goalscoring burden on 11-goal striker Dwight Gayle.
“Once you are on the pitch you have to show everything,” he said.
“That’s it. Whoever is on the pitch can assist, can score. The important thing is the team, and that is clear in the dressing room.”