JAMES Tavernier hailed Newcastle United’s win in the HKFC Citibank Hong Kong International Soccer Sevens – and insisted the victory “showed what the club is all about”.
Tavernier captained the team to a memorable success in the Far East.
Newcastle won all three of their group fixtures on Saturday without conceding a goal to progress to the knockout stage.
And United saw off Celtic and Sunderland yesterday to reach the final of the seven-a-side tournament.
Goals from Adam Campbell and Brad Inman against Aston Villa in the showpiece at the home of Hong Kong FC saw Willie Donachie’s side win 2-1.
Tavernier said: “We stuck together as team. The weather has been a challenge, and it was a new format for us, but we’ve done well to adapt.
“It’s been a brilliant trip for us. We’re privileged to have been invited, and it’s been fantastic to come out to Hong Kong, meet the fans here and show them what Newcastle United is all about. I think we’ve shown we have some talent in the club.
“The seven-a-side format took some getting used to, but we learned from our first match. We’ve won all our games, and we only conceded two goals all tournament, so we’re very happy.”
Speaking to the Gazette last week, reserve-team manager Willie Donachie had admitted he and his players were taking a step into the unknown.
And Donachie has paid tribute to his 10-man squad for the way they adjusted to the format and hot and humid weather.
Donachie said: “This is unbelievable. I thought we’d struggle to win a game because we had such a young team, but the players have done exceptionally well, they showed a lot of discipline and they worked hard for each other.
“I’ve learned a lot about these players by bringing them to Hong Kong. You see so much more about their character, their will to win and how they adapt to different situations.
“I saw Villa training and thought they would be a threat, and yet we’ve beaten them twice, which is great credit to the players
“We’d love to come back – this has been a wonderful tournament for the players and staff.”