Ayoze Perez reveals how Newcastle United's players have 'suffered' for the cause
Ayoze Perez says Newcastle United are all but safe – after "suffering" for the cause.
Perez scored in last night's 1-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The striker took Perez's goal tally in all competitions to eight and edged the club away from the relegation zone.
And Perez believes the result was the most important yet this season given that it has almost certainly ensured another season of Premier League football on Tyneside.
“Definitely, that's how I feel," said Perez. "That's what we all feel in the dressing-room as well. We played really good, and credit for the team and the fans and the city – they deserve that we're staying in the Premier League for another season.
“It should be enough. We still have four games left to go and other teams have to play each other. We have a tough schedule, but if we play the way we did, hopefully we can keep climbing."
Asked about the physical demands of the past nine months, Perez said: “I'm not going to lie to you, it's been very tough for players such as myself and Miguel (Almiron).
"You have to adapt yourself to what the manager wants. We have had to suffer and stick together and stick to the plan.
"At the end, we still have quality up front to create chances and that's our job. You have to suffer like we did (against Leicester).
“That's what you have to do, otherwise you are going to be even lower in the Premier League and we would have been fighting relegation. We have to stick to the plan, do what the manager wants, because he has been in football for many years and he knows what he is talking about."
Benitez is in talks over a new deal with his contract at United expiring in the summer.
“The team has achieved great things," said Perez. "Maybe with another manager we would have struggled even more. That's what happened in my second season here, we were relegated with a great team. That's football, anything can happen."
Perez was last season's leading scorer with 10 goals in all competitions, including eight in the league.
“Hopefully, I can improve the number (of goals) I had last season," said the 25-year-old. "Hopefully, there is more to come in the four games we have left."