Newcastle United captain reveals the ‘great’ thing he saw in Rayo Vallecano friendly
An early Sean Longstaff strike and a Chris Wood penalty put Newcastle 2-0 ahead before Matt Targett turned the ball into his own net to award the La Liga outfit a late consolation. United are now preparing to return to competitive action following the World Cup break as they host Bournemouth in the last-16 of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night (7:45pm kick-off).
The Magpies beat Al Hilal 5-0 while in Saudi Arabia and also played an intra-squad friendly at the training ground on Friday. But the first-team players who didn’t feature in Friday’s match started at St James's Park on Saturday.
“It was a very productive game,” Lascelles said after the match. “We've had three games recently and we managed to get a lot out of it as preparation for the game on Tuesday.
“We're trying to up our fitness levels but also winning the games is important to maintain the confidence.”
Just shy of 35,000 fans attended the match at St James’s Park for the friendly match which saw former Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune return to the club for the first time since leaving on an initial loan deal to Alaves in 2020 which was made permanent the following summer.
The French defender was loaned out to Rayo Vallecano in the summer and came on as a second half substitute against his old club to a warm reception from the home fans.
“Flo had a great spell when he was at Newcastle, he's a great person and he was a bit unlucky with injuries and things like that but it's great to see him back to his full fitness, happy and playing good football,” Lascelles added.
“Fair play, you can't fault the Newcastle fans. They didn't have to come and show their support today but they did and I'm sure there will be a bigger turnout on Tuesday.
“The manager has done a great job to make sure we're all fit. He's pushed us really hard and we've managed to do well in all the games we've played. The squad is ready.”