Ayoze Perez says Newcastle United’s season starts now.
Rafa Benitez’s side are second-bottom after losing four out of their first five league games.
Now we are playing against teams who are in our league, and there will be more chances to get points.Ayoze Perez
Arsenal beat United 2-1 at St James’s Park on Saturday thanks to goals from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil.
It is the club’s worst start to a Premier League campaign since 1999 – and the worst at home in 31 years.
However, all of Newcastle’s defeats have come to sides which finished in last season’s top six – and all were by a single-goal margin.
United take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday – and the next few games are critical, according to Perez.
“Everyone has to play against the top sides, but now we’ve got to think about the next game – our season starts now,” said the forward.
“We have to know where we are and where we want to be.
“It’s the same situation as we were in last season, and this is the moment to start getting points.
“The team is doing well most of the time. Sometimes there’s a lack of concentration, and I think that can make a difference.
“Now we are playing against teams who are in our league, and there will be more chances to get points. “
Newcastle manager Benitez again said he wasn’t worried after the Arsenal defeat given the opposition his team had faced so far this season.
The club has also played champions Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
And Perez, last season’s top scorer, believes it’s “way too early” to make a judgement on Newcastle’s prospects this season.
Asked if he was worried, Perez said: “No, it’s way too early.
“It’s September and there’s still a long way until the finish. It’s true that the fixture list didn’t help us, but we are where we are.
“It’s not a good situation but it’s time to keep working. We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of improvements to make
“There’s still a long way to go – we have to keep going.”
United’s early-season defeats have had an impact on the mood behind the scenes at the club, according to Perez.
“It (the mood) could be better, but we have to keep going, and we have to do more than we are,” said the 25-year-old, who scored eight league goals last season.
“We all know that it hasn’t been a good schedule for ourselves, and this was against another top side.
“In the first half (against Arsenal), I thought we could get points against Arsenal, but we didn’t.
“We have to stick together and keep working as we have been. That’s it. The points will come. “
Newcastle had a nine-game run without a win last season and still finished 10th in the Premier League.
“One of the most difficult things in football is to keep at a good level when you know you’re in a bad run,” said Perez.
“You cannot give up. You cannot think ‘we’re done’ or anything like that.
“There’s still a long way to go, a lot of points still to play for. We have many opportunities and a little bit of an advantage in terms of playing so many top sides.
“There’s now a chance to go up against teams in our own league and to get some points.
“We have to be calm and think about the mistakes we’re making – and we’re making a lot sometimes – and make sure we fix them.
“We will be better now we’re playing against the teams around us. We have to make sure we get points.”