Newcastle’s Ayoze Perez reveals Rafa Benitez’s message to him at the Amex Stadium

Dwight Gayle
Dwight Gayle

Ayoze Perez says Championship leaders Newcastle United have achieved NOTHING yet.

The club leads the division by two points ahead of tomorrow evening’s game at third-placed Huddersfield Town.

Newcastle came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 on Tuesday thanks to an 89th-minute goal from Perez.

But the forward says he and his team-mates are not getting ahead of themselves given that United are still some way off achieving their goal of securing a return to the Premier League.

“The confidence has grown even more,” said Perez.

“We are doing really well away from home, but still we have done nothing.

“We have to focus on Huddersfield, which is going to be another tough game, and we have to go into it with the same mentality.”

The Huddersfield fixture is followed by an away game at fifth-placed Reading.

“The way we approached the Brighton game, we did it properly, and we have to do the same with the next two matches,” said Perez.

“There are 90 minutes to play. You can start losing, but if your mentality is stronger, then you can win it.

“We were better than Brighton in that way, and that’s why we won – so we need to do it again.”

Perez’s strike against Brighton was his ninth of the season.

And the 23-year-old, sent after Mohamed Diame levelled, has revealed Rafa Benitez’s message to him at the Amex Stadium.

Asked what Benitez had said to him, Perez said: “Nothing special, but just what I had to do.

“He told me to tell the players to stay calm, that it was 1-1 and we could win it if we stay calm, keep our heads and focus. And we did win it.

“It was a massive win for us, an important goal at the end.

“We got the three points which are really, really important because they put us back at the top.”

Perez believes his 22nd goal for Newcastle was as important as any of his strikes for the club.

“It must be one of the most important goals that I’ve scored for Newcastle,” said the Spain Under-21 international.

“I’m really happy to be the one, but the most important thing is the three points.

“We knew that this game would be really tough, they were playing at home, are a great team, but we knew we could win it.”

On the result, Perez added: “It means a lot for ourselves.

“We went 1-0 down, they were pushing and were better than us early on, but the way we finished the first half, we knew we could still get something out of the game and win it. And we did it.”