Salomon Rondon has caught up with his fitness – after a “terrible” pre-season.
The striker, on loan at Newcastle United from West Bromwich Albion, made his first start in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Rondon had been working hard on his fitness after only playing one pre-season game.
“I tried to get fit as quickly as possible,” said the Venezuela international. “My pre-season was terrible, because I didn’t play games. Here, I tried to get fit quickly, and day by day I try to train hard and be ready.”
Rondon is ready to play in tomorrow night’s second-round Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground – if needed.
“It’s the gaffer’s decision,” said the 28-year-old.
My pre-season was terrible, because I didn’t play games. Here, I tried to get fit quickly, and day by day I try to train hard and be ready.Salomon Rondon
“I try to train hard to make it difficult for him. That’s it. I try to do my best.
“I’m a player and I respect the decision of who plays and who doesn’t play. I’m happy to be here, and I try to play.”
Chelsea claimed all three points thanks to a late own goal from DeAndre Yedlin.
“We lost to a big team with big players, but we defended really, really well,” said Rondon. “The only way is to keep that effort and try to do our best.
“When you play against these teams, you try to not concede goals, and after that to score. We did that for 45 minutes. We did really well, but we conceded a goal in the second half.”
Joselu had earlier cancelled out a penalty from Eden Hazard with his second goal of the season.
“This is the best thing when you talk about the team,” said Rondon. “Joselu scored a good goal. It’s good for him, and I try to score as well. I try to make it difficult for the gaffer.”