Yoan Gouffran reflects on his remarkable comeback after a year in the cold at Newcastle

Yoan Gouffran

Yoan Gouffran

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Yoan Gouffran has told of his “pride” after helping Newcastle United return to the Premier League.

Gouffran only made two league starts in the top flight last season.

Everybody’s proud of what they have done, and especially me, because last year I didn’t play. This year, I’ve enjoyed it at Newcastle.

Yoan Gouffran

But Rafa Benitez has relied on the forward in the Championship this term.

Gouffran, out of contract this summer, made 32 starts and scored five league goals for the league winners.

“Everybody’s proud of what they’ve done, and especially me, because last year I didn’t play,” said the 30-year-old, who could be offered a contract extension.

“This year, I’ve enjoyed it at Newcastle. I’ve been involved, I think I’ve deserved it.

“It was really hard for me, and I’ve worked really hard at the training ground.

“I spoke with the manager when he came. I was injured last season, and now I’m happy.”

Gouffran – who refused to speak to print journalists all season – was in the team which ended a memorable campaign with a 3-0 win over Barnsley at St James’s Park on Sunday. Aston Villa’s late equaliser against Brighton and Hove Albion saw United finish top.

“It was just great,” said Gouffran. “I thought we played well and we scored good goals, and we knew minutes before the end what the score was (at Villa Park).

“It was a great atmosphere, the fans were amazing.

“We knew they were drawing and that we would be champions. We tried to stay focused, but it’s hard, because we knew we were going to be champions.

“I think we deserved it. Everyone’s worked hard.”