Newcastle’s Ayoze Perez: The real competition starts now – and we know the importance of that

Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez.
Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez.

Ayoze Perez says Newcastle United’s players must be physically AND mentally ready for the club’s return to the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez’s side kick off their campaign with a home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday

Newcastle wrapped up their pre-season programme with a 2-0 win over Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Perez and Christian Atsu were on target for United.

Benitez and his players are now focused on Tottenham’s visit to St James’s Park.

“The real competition starts now – and we know the importance of that,” said Perez.

The real competition starts now – and we know the importance of that.

Ayoze Perez

“We have to have a balance about our feeling. Mentally, we have to be ready and focused, because it’s not going to be an easy season, it’s going to be really tough and we have to make sure we do the right things as we have been.

“It’s going to be tough. We must work very hard, and then the results will come.”

Perez – who made 47 Premier League starts for the club in his first two seasons at St James’s Park – believes that United will be competitive on their return to the top flight.

“We are back, and we know exactly what is our goal,” said the 24-year-old.

“We have to go game by game, thinking about the next week and the next game, and that’s it. We must work as hard as we can, because it’s going to be tough, and if we think we are better than other teams, it won’t be an easy season.

“We have to think we can beat anyone, but only if we are working as hard as we can and have the right mentality.

“We cannot think something else, because it will be wrong.”

Perez beat Verona goalkeeper Nicolas with a near-post finish after Christian Atsu broke down the right.

“The move for the goal means the team have quality,” he said. “We can play, and we did it against Verona.

“It was a great play from the team, and I could put it into the net. It’s a good feeling for us, and now we must focus out on the pitch.”