Salomon Rondon has a message for his Newcastle team-mates
Salomon Rondon's ready to take the fight to Manchester United.
The Newcastle United striker scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Watford.
Rondon was unplayable at times at Vicarage Road, where his first-half goal was cancelled out by a late strike from Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The result left the club 15th in the table ahead of Wednesday night’s home game against Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side.
Rondon felt the performance, which followed a 4-0 Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, was a step in the right direction for the team.
Asked about his own contribution, Rondon said: “Leading the line and scoring goals is my job, and I know the manager and the fans are looking to me to help the team win games, but we have to keep working as a team and this is a small step (in the right direction).”
Newcastle beat Man United 1-0 at St James’s Park last season.
And that result proved pivotal to the team’s revival.
On-loan Rondon said: “Every game in this league is difficult, but this one is like a final, because you are playing against great players.
“We need to stay compact and focused, keep our spirit and attitude, and remember we’re playing in front of our fans. This is our home, and we want to do well here.
“In the past, teams have feared playing Man United, and maybe you think about their history, but they are the same as us – two arms, two legs – and we will do our best to take three points.”
Newcastle led 2-0 at Old Trafford in October before losing 3-2.
“We played well at Old Trafford this season, and a lot had happened since that game,” said Rondon.
“Their confidence is high, because they have enjoyed a couple of good wins, but the most important thing is how we approach the game.
“It’s about how we look after our team-mates, how we play as a team, and to play with the spirit which helped us to go on the run which lifted us up the table.
“We know we can do it. This is the challenge.”
Against Watford, Rondon, signed on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion, powerfully headed a superb Matt Ritchie cross past Ben Foster in the 29th minute.
However, a defensive mix-up allowed Doucoure to head home an equaliser eight minutes from the end.
“It was a shame we conceded so late in the game, because we had fought hard and we were in front for most of the game,” said Rondon.
“But it’s still a massive point for us because it shows we are ready to fight.
“Watford play with a high intensity at home, and we worked so hard to contain them.
“The most important thing is the spirit, and that was never missing.”
Rafa Benitez had left Rondon out of his team against Liverpool.
United’s manager said: “He did well. It was a good cross also. But the main thing is his contribution for the team – not just his goal.
“He was holding the ball up, linking the players, so a lot of positives in a difficult game against a good team.”
Asked if Rondon had been rested at Anfield so he could be fresh enough to put in that kind of performance, Benitez said: “No, I was trying to win on the pitch against Liverpool and give us fresh legs with a gameplan that we could do well.
“I think we did well (against Liverpool) until the penalty, which changed everything.”