Ayoze Perez’s blunt message to his Newcastle team-mates ahead of Preston rematch

Ayoze Perez.
Ayoze Perez.

Ayoze Perez has told his Newcastle United team-mates to forget about their EFL Cup win ahead of their visit to Deepdale.

Rafa Benitez’s side beat Preston North End 6-0 on Tuesday night.

There will be a lot of changes again on Saturday. It will be really hard. We need to forget about Tuesday and try to go there and get the points.

Ayoze Perez

Perez came off the bench to score in injury time at St James’s Park, where there was a remarkable crowd of 49,042.

The two sides meet again tomorrow at Deepdale, where Newcastle will be backed by 5,600 fans for the Championship match.

Preston manager Simon Grayson made nine changes, two more than Benitez, for the fourth-round tie.

And Perez – who has scored three goals in United’s last two games – believes United will face a much sterner test in the league.

Preston beat in-form Norwich City and Huddersfield Town last week, and Perez is expecting a backlash from Grayson’s ninth-placed side at Deepdale.

Reflecting on Newcastle’s cup win, the 23-year-old said: “It was a good game, good performance. We are still in the competition, and we go through.

“The 6-0 win will make it more difficult for us on Saturday, I am sure.

“We talked about it straight after the game. We will have to respect Preston, and focus on the game, because it will be a lot different.

“There will be a lot of changes again on Saturday, I am sure. It will be really hard. We will have to be really focused.

“We need to forget about Tuesday and try to go there and get the points.”

Perez – who scored two goals in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Ipswich Town – has been in and out of Benitez’s starting XI so far this season.

But the Tenerife-born player, used as a No 10 by Benitez, has hit form in recent weeks, and he is a strong candidate to start at Deepdale.

Asked about Perez after the Ipswich game, Benitez said: “It’s important for him. He did well and worked hard. I didn’t play him in the last game (Barnsley), but he did a good job.”

For his part, Perez feels he is improving week by week under Benitez.

“I am getting better,” said the Spain Under-21 international. “I am scoring goals, which is important for me because the confidence grows a little more.

“It is nice to score. We now have a game on Saturday, we have to be focused and see what happens.

“We need to have the right mentality whatever team we play with, (taking) three points is hard to earn against every team at this level.

“We have to be focused on every game. We are doing fine, but we need to keep going.

“It is a lot different to the teams we play in the Premier League.

“You have to get the mentality right and work hard for the goals and the results to get the points to get back to the Premier League.”

Perez, now in his third season at Newcastle, experienced the pain of relegation last season.

And the contrast this season to what went before it under Steve McClaren, Benitez’s predecessor, couldn’t be greater.

“We knew that we have a big squad with quality, and it was difficult when we were relegated,” said Perez, who signed a new long-term deal at United earlier this year.

“We are now focused on our goal of getting back to the Premier League as soon as possible, and that’s what we are working on

“We have momentum, everyone is in a good mood, and everyone wants to be fit, as soon as a player gets a chance they have to be ready.”