Ayoze Perez isn’t one to complain or make excuses.
Perez didn’t need anyone to tell him he hadn’t had the best of starts this season.
Nobody needs to tell me if I’m doing well, better or not. I think, as a footballer, I realise when I’m doing well and I’m not doing well. That’s it.Ayoze Perez
And the forward also knew the right way – and the wrong way – to react after being left out of Newcastle United’s starting XI last weekend.
Perez was dropped for the home game against Watford – yet he left the field the hero that afternoon after scoring the only goal of the game.
The 25-year-old’s strike, his 36th for the club, took the club out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Asked for his reaction to being left out by Rafa Benitez, Perez said: “There are two things you can think.
“You can think in a bad way, start thinking too much. I think the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself.
“Obviously, respect the decision, and then, as soon as you have the opportunity, prove that you’re able to do it. That’s it. That’s the main thing.
“As a footballer, we like to complain and make excuses, but that doesn’t help you.
“In this case, the main thing is to believe in yourself and keep going in the right direction and prove what you can do.”
Perez, last season’s top scorer with 10 goals in all competitions, had been “honest” with himself ahead of the Watford game.
The former Spain Under-21 international, now in his fifth season at United, didn’t need to be told he – and the team – could do better.
“I’m honest with myself,” said Perez, who could return to the starting XI against Bournemouth at St James’s Park tomorrow.
“Nobody needs to tell me if I’m doing well, better or not. I think, as a footballer, I realise when I’m doing well and I’m not doing well. That’s it.
“The thing is how you react to that and how you take it. That’s it.
“It wasn’t been the best performance by me during the beginning of the season, but what is also true is that I’ve had a couple of chances, and with a bit of luck, we would have been talking about something different.”
Benitez – who will is likely to be without Yoshinori Muto for the Bournemouth game – had spoken about the need to “protect” Perez ahead of the Watford game.
“Ayoze understands the frustrations of some people,” said United’s manager.
“He has quality and talent and he scored eight goals, so he can do these things.
“Has to be more consistent? Has to have more pace, more ability?
“Yes, you can put a lot of things together, but, again I will say, he scored eight (league) goals last year and is a member of our family, so we have to protect him.”
Newcastle hadn’t won any of their first 10 league games this season.
And the Watford win had been a long time coming for Perez and his team-mates.
“It’s been a couple of tough weeks, but the team stuck together,” said Perez, who scored two goals against Bournemouth in the 2016-16 season.
“We’ve been working a lot to feel what we are feeling.
“This is a great feeling. We have to keep this winning feeling. We just stick together. We are all together. Even when we’re struggling, we have to be together.
“It gives us a lot of confidence. We have been working hard.”
Meanwhile, Elias Sorensen has been rewarded for his goalscoring exploits at Newcastle – with a first-team call-up.
Sorensen has trained with the senior squad ahead of the Bournemouth game.
The 19-year-old has scored 11 goals for the club’s Under-23 side so far this season.
Sorensen scored two goals in last week’s 4-1 away win over Manchester United, and Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has been tracking his progress.
Speaking to the Gazette last month, Benitez said: “I was watching him.
“We know him and I know he’s doing really well. I was talking with Ben (Dawson, United’s Under-23 coach).
“We’re monitoring players. We’re watching them, so we keep an eye on them for sure, and that’s it.”
Sorensen scored in last month’s 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over League Two club Notts County at Meadow Lane.
“I feel very confident at the moment, scoring the goals,” said Sorensen. “When it goes your way and goes in the back of the net, basically you’re in the sky and flying with confidence.”
Sorensen joined the club as a 16-year-old two years ago from HB Koge in his native Denmark.