Ayoze Perez says his number’s not up at Newcastle United.
The forward scored seven Premier League goals for the club last season after moving from Tenerife.
I don’t think about the numbers, or to do better than last year – just work and do my best for the team.Ayoze Perez
Perez had been signed as one for the future by the club – but he quickly played his way into then-manager Alan Pardew’s starting XI.
But the 22-year-old knows he is now a marked man in England – and he’s not setting himself any goalscoring targets.
“It’s harder because I had a good season last year, and I have to keep going and improve and maybe do better if I can,” said Perez. “That’s what I want to do.
“I did good numbers, but I have to keep working every day and in training.
“I don’t think about the numbers or to do better than last year – just work and do my best for the team.
“I always want to improve so that’s a good goal. I always want to be better so if I can score more goals, that’s a good thing for me.”
Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a £15million deadline day move for Perez, but Newcastle made it clear that the Spain Under-21 international was not for sale.
And Perez – whose goals helped keep United up last season – was not looking to leave St James’s Park.
“I feel fit, I feel comfortable with the team and I’m happy with the start of the season,” said Perez, who cost Newcastle just £1.5million.
“I have to keep working. My first year was a really good year and I hope this one will be the same or better.”
Perez – who chose United ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid as he wanted first-team football – admits he is still pinching himself at his rapid rise, having been playing in Spain’s second division the season before last.
He said: “I’m still thinking the same – like it’s a dream. In a big game, sometimes I can’t believe it.”