It’s telepathic! Ayoze Perez opens up about his understanding with Salomon Rondon at Newcastle United
Ayoze Perez says he can read Salomon Rondon’s mind on the pitch.
Perez scored twice and set up a goal for Rondon in Newcastle United’s 3-2 win over Everton at St James’s Park.
The visitors had led 2-0 at the break on Saturday, and a superb one-two between Perez and Rondon sparked a second-half comeback.
Rondon played the ball to Perez before making a run into the box, where he superbly volleyed past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
Rafa Benitez lauded Perez’s ball and Rondon’s strike after the win, which lifted the club up to 13th place in the Premier League.
“The first goal was a great goal,” said manager Benitez. “I was joking that if (Lionel) Messi had done what Ayo did and Alan Shearer finished like Rondon, everybody would have been talking for a month about that.”
Benitez had pushed up Perez to play as a second striker as Newcastle chased the game.
And Perez says he didn’t even need to look up to know the Rondon was making in the area.
“We changed to two strikers, and we have a good relationship,” said Perez, whose
“We have a good relationship, Rondon and myself, so we understand each other.
“In this case, I ran behind, and it was about an understanding. He gave me the ball, and, without looking, I knew the movement he was going to make, so I tried to put the ball into him.
“He’s a great goalscorer, so I knew if I was able to put in the right ball, he was going to score.
“It was a good link-up with each other, and it was the hardest goal to get, the first one, and everything started with that goal.
“It was the hardest one to get, the first one. Everything started with that goal, and we pushed and we made it.”
Asked if their understanding was almost telepathic, Perez said: “Yeah, of course! I believe in that.
“Sometimes you don’t have the time to look where you will pass. It’s just in your mind, a memory.
“I just tried to put it where he would go, where I imagined in my mind he would go because I know his game well.
“In this case, it happened. It was a great goal. Most important was the win. Everyone else down there below us won – wins everywhere.
“We won as well. We’re very close, to staying up.”
Asked about the understanding between Perez, Rondon and Miguel Almiron, Benitez said: “His understanding with Almiron and Rondon is quite good.
“They’re all quite high, they’re doing well – and they’re enjoying themselves.”
United’s players, however, were “frustrated” at the interval.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin had given Everton the lead before Pickford brought down Rondon in the box.
Referee Lee Mason didn’t sent off – or even book – Pickford, and Matt Ritchie’s penalty was saved by the goalkeeper.
Richarlison netted a minute later.
Benitez was calm as he addressed the players during the half-time break.
“Overall, we were quite frustrated,” said Perez. “We could have gone 1-1 each instead of 2-0 down.
“The mood was quite strange in terms of frustration. We were not doing so bad, but were 2-0 down and missed a penalty. But at 2-0 down, it’s tough to come back
“He stayed calm, he gave us a speech that gave us belief to stay positive, and we had to step up. And at the end we are celebrating a win.”
Perez – whose goal tally now stands at six – believes it was one of his best moments as a Newcastle player.
“Yes, definitely,” said Perez. “A comeback, to Assist, then score twice ... obviously it’s one of my best performances for Newcastle. I’m always happy to score for our cause. To help the team get points is important.
“The goals meant a lot, the win meant a lot. To be able to score the equaliser then a winner is an amazing feeling.
“When we got the second one, everyone was telling us in the corner that come on we can still do it. That’s belief. That’s wanting to win the game.
“The team-mates in the huddle were saying ‘come on, yes, lets go, we can do it’. That is a winning mentality, and it paid off.”
Newcastle – who are away to Bournemouth on Saturday – have now won their last five home games.
“I said a couple of months ago that the form at home had to change, and we had to find a way to get points,” said Perez. “When you’re fighting against relegation, you have to be strong at home and make other teams come here and feel uncomfortable.
“Five wins in a row means a lot. We had to improve, and we are close to our main target. We have to attack every game to get three points. It’s still not done, and we have to carry on.”