'It ruined my week!': Valentino Lazaro opens up about his first Newcastle United goal – and THAT red card

The last Newcastle United player to leave the field at The Hawthorns was Valentino Lazaro.

Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 5:13 pm

It had been a different story on his last appearance for the club at Selhurst Park. Lazaro had been the first player to leave the pitch following his dismissal for a professional foul.

Lazaro filmed a short video for one of the club’s social media channels as fans chanted “please don’t take me home” in the Smethwick End of the stadium following last night’s 3-2 win FA Cup win over West Bromwich Albion.

“Hope you’re satisfied – let’s celebrate,” said Lazaro in a message to fans. “See you back in the Toon!”

They were satisfied. Lazaro had scored what turned out to be Newcastle’s all-important third goal in the fifth-round tie.

“I’m very proud of the team, because we came out and showed that we wanted to go to the next round and score some goals,” said Lazaro, signed on loan from Inter Milan in January. “I think we had a lot of chances. We played good football, and maybe could have scored more goals. We’re very happy about the win.”

Lazaro admitted his 47th-minute goal, which followed two first-half strikes from Miguel Almiron, goal was fortunate.

A right-wing cross from Allan Saint-Maximin struck goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, bounced off his stomach – and rolled into the net.

Valentino Lazaro celebrates his goal with Joeltinon.

Lazaro, however, felt that he had made his own luck by making a run into the box after starting the move.

“Sometimes you play a ball and have to make the run right after, and I’m very happy I made that run,” said the 23-year-old. “I think the ball came first from Miggy, and then went to Allan.

“I just knew I had to go there. Sometimes a striker has to be there. When you see that open space, you have to make that run. I know it was lucky. The ball came right on to my stomach and into the goal, but I’m very happy I made that run and to score my first goal.”

The goal came in front of United’s 5,000-strong support.

Miguel Almiron.

“I’m very happy it was the second half in front of the fans,” said Lazaro. “It’s a very nice feeling, especially after my red card.”

Lazaro, still adjusting to the demands of English football, was dismissed for pulling down Wilfried Zaha late in Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace last month.

“Even against Crystal Palace, I felt the game wasn’t my best, but it wasn’t that bad,” said the Austria international. “I’ve had a couple of good actions, and was still trying to find my way into the team and the Premier League.

“To end it like that, ruined my whole day and night and the whole week after. I’m happy to be back, and just want to help the team.”

Lazaro felt very different emotions after the final whistle at The Hawthorns.

“It’s special,” he said. “When you can see so many fans travelling here, especially after the past few weeks when we haven’t played the best football or showed our potential.

“They still came here, and were noisy and cheering us on. That’s a very special feeling. We’re very happy to get the win.”

The FA Cup is important to Lazaro and his team-mates, and it could give the team the confidence it needs going into the final 10 Premier League games following four games without a goal. The club is 14th in the table ahead of Saturday’s game against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium.

“It’s important in a lot of ways,” said Lazaro. “It’s a cup and anything is possible. We’re trying to go as far as possible. There are not a lot of games for the title. You always have to believe.

“We haven’t scored a lot of goals in the past few weeks, but this cup game was very important for us. It was a win. We’re into the next round. It was very good for the team confidence, and we hope we can transfer that now to the Premier League.”

On the performances of Almiron, Saint-Maximin and Joelinton, he added: “All of them played a really good game. You see how hard they work. Also Joelinton, he’s working so hard for the team. We’re just trying to get our team-mates in positions to score. We’re happy we got three more goals.”

However, Steve Bruce, United's head coach, was unhappy with the two goals from West Brom which set up a nervous finale.

Lazaro said: “I’ve always said it’s a typical cup game! Normally, it’s always close, if it’s not close 10 minutes to the end, then somehow it will be close. The most important thing is the win.

“I’ve always followed English football and the FA Cup as well. Normally, from Germany, Austria or Italy, the cup is something very special. It’s just great that we got the win and travelled back with that feeling.”

United are now 90 minutes from a first Wembley semi-final in 20 years.

“We’ll see,” said Lazaro. “It’s definitely something special. I’ve heard we haven’t been to the quarter-finals in 14 years. It’s something special for the whole club. In one game, anything’s possible.”