DeAndre Yedlin reveals what Steve Bruce has told him
DeAndre Yedlin wants Newcastle United to keep looking up – and push even higher up the Premier League table.
Steve Bruce’s side went into the international break in 11th place after back-to-back Premier League wins.
The club has 15 points – six more than it had at this stage last season under Rafa Benitez – and is just two points off fifth-placed Sheffield United.
United had been tipped for relegation following the appointment of Steve Bruce as Benitez’s successor in the summer, and the 5-0 defeat to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in late September did nothing to dispel fears among fans that the club would struggle under the 58-year-old.
The players, however, had a different view of their prospects, according Yedlin.
“Internally, we were all confident in ourselves,” said Yedlin, who was making his 101st appearance for Newcastle. “We knew what we had in this squad, and we were not going to let any one disrupt that.
“I don't think we’re surprised with this start. It’s not a surprise. But we’re happy with it. We’re confident in our abilities. I don't want to say top 10 is the aim, we just want to finish as high as we can. That’s the motive, and we’ll keep pushing for that.”
Bournemouth took a first-half lead through a goal from Harry Wilson. The Liverpool loanee, linked with United in the summer, swept the ball home from 12 yards after a well-worked corner routine left him in space.
Right-back Yedlin levelled with a 42nd-minute header after gambling at the far post on a shot from Allan Saint-Maximin, whose pace again caused problems. The strike was checked by VAR, but Yedlin was onside.
“I know when Al has the ball in that situation, he’ll shoot to the far corner, and I take a gamble and rush in in case it is going wide,” said Yedlin, who started the season in the treatment room following groin surgery late last season.
“I thought I might as well make it on target. I dived, and it hit my head and went in. I didn't know at first. I thought it might have gone wide, and I couldn't hear the crowd reacting. I was in the net. I didn’t know it was a goal and it went to VAR.”
Asked if the VAR check had spoiled the moment, Yedlin said: “Yes, I think so. No one wants to look stupid by celebrating and it getting disallowed by VAR. But the most important thing is it was a goal.”
Ciaran Clark – who had scored in the previous weekend’s 3-2 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium – scored a second-half winner for Newcastle.
Seven of the club’s last nine goals have been scored by defenders. Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, meanwhile, are yet to get off the mark.
“It was a huge win,” said 26-year-old Yedlin. “The gaffer stressed how back-to-back wins can change the look of the league table, and we’ve shown that. We don't rest now. We still have to push and push, and get as many wins as we can.”
Asked about the remarkable goalscoring record of the club’s defenders, Yedlin said: “It’s good for us.
“A lot of people look at the attackers and ask ‘what are they doing?’. People don't realise the defensive work they’re putting in for the team. They make the game a lot easier for us with their pressing and the way they push guys to one side. It makes life easier. They’re doing a lot of the dirty work. They deserve some credit for that as well.
“A lot of the goals are from set-pieces, and we have some good big guys at set-pieces. Then there’s the back five. With wing-backs, you can get on the back post and sneak in there.
“The gaffer has said to me to get in there and try to score – and get the ones that are bouncing around. It’s been good to get some chances.”
Yedlin cleared a shot off the line from Ryan Fraser before the break, though he was frustrated at the visitors’ goal.
“Every game you want a clean sheet,” said the USA international, who has been called up for his country’s games against Cuba and Canada. “I was supposed to be in front of (Josh) King. I’m glad I scored to make up for that. I lost concentration a bit.
"That happens, and that’s why you have team-mates around you to build you back up.”
Yedlin, signed from Tottenham Hotspur three years ago, made his 100th appearance for the club against West Ham.
And the Seattle-born player – who had a loan spell at Sunderland earlier in his career – says he’s “honoured” to be playing for United.
“I’m very happy,” said Yedlin. I never thought I'd be here, growing up in America, and playing for as big a club as Newcastle. I’m honoured to be here playing and have 100 appearances.”