Rafa Benitez has a message for Newcastle United fans as Ayoze Perez silences critics
Rafa Benitez is happy for Ayoze Perez to keep sticking his fingers in his ears – even though he’s silenced his critics.
Perez scored two goals and set up another as Newcastle United came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 on Saturday.
The forward’s strikes took his Premier League goal tally for the season to seven.
Perez – whose performance came under scrutiny in the first half of the season – again celebrated by putting his fingers in his ears.
And Benitez has told supporters to simply “enjoy” watching the 25-year-old, who has scored 42 career goals for Newcastle since joining from Tenerife as an unknown in 2014.
“The main thing’s him scoring goals, not how he celebrates,” said United’s manager. “It’s not an issue – enjoy what he did.
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“If you have Alan Shearer doing this with (Salomon) Rondon and (Lionel) Messi doing this with Ayoze, it was a great goal.
“Then to get two more (goals). It was a great performance from a striker.”
Perez first celebrated with his fingers in the ears after scoring against Watford in November – after coming on to the pitch amid boos from some fans.
“I found that I had to do it against Watford, and, since that moment, I’ve kept doing it,” said Perez, who has turned off his Twitter notifications.
“I will do it until the end of the season now.”
Asked about the criticism he has faced this season, Perez said last month: “Sometimes, it’s good not to hear some things.
“The mentality is to avoid anything that can disturb you or make you think things you shouldn’t think.”
Only 12 players have scored more Premier League goals for United than Perez, who has netted 27 times in the division.