Leon Best scores against Arsenal

By Dan King

An emotional Leon Best opened his heart to nufc.co.uk after he played a major role in Newcastle's amazing comeback against Arsenal on Saturday.

Best was fouled by Laurent Koscielny for the penalty which Joey Barton scored to pull one goal back, then scored United's second with a well-taken penalty-box strike. And the Nottingham-born forward had another goal wrongly ruled out for offside.

He now has four goals in his last five Barclays Premier League games, a record which suggests he can fill the void left by Andy Carroll's departure for Liverpool.

The 24-year-old said: "It's been an emotional couple of weeks for me. I've scored the hat-trick (against West Ham) and scored a goal now against Arsenal.

"With everything that's happened in the week, with Andy leaving, Shola being injured, everyone saying we need a striker, we need this, we need that - we showed today that no matter what's happened in the week, we're still together as a team and we scored four in the second half after being down 4-0 against one of the best teams in the Premiership.

"That first goal wasn't offside, so it could have been two goals for me against Arsenal. I just need to keep plucking away and scoring the odd goal here and there to help the team. Never mind goals for myself, it's about helping the team and doing it for the team.

"Everything's about the team and I think against Arsenal it was a proper team effort. We weren't like individual players out there - we were like brothers on the pitch. We were doing everything for each other and working hard for each other. No matter what went on in the first-half, we didn't turn on each other.

"There wasn't anyone who was giving up or sulking. We never stopped working and I've got the utmost respect for every member of the team and staff."

Best added: "In the first half, it was like nothing at all was going for us. We were 2-0 down after two or three minutes and it was the worst start we could have possibly had. The first half was so hard. We couldn't get anywhere near them and it was just a matter of chasing.

"It felt like even when we were chasing, nothing was happening and it was a matter of keeping trying hard. At half-time the manager said 'keep going and give everything.' And what happened next shows what we have as a team; commitment, work-rate, desire.

"I just think we respect each other so much. We never give up and we broke a team like Arsenal down to get a draw from 4-0 down.

"The goals they scored happened so quickly, and obviously things like that happen against teams like Arsenal. Iit should have never happened, we should never have conceded goals like that. But when you play a second half like that, you can forget about the first."

And Best paid tribute to the Newcastle fans, whose loyal backing in the second-half spurred United on to the greatest comeback in Premier League history.

"The fans here are our 12th man and we need them," he said. "We did get booed off in the first half and to be fair, we deserved it. But as soon as we got the first goal, they got behind us.

"They saw that we were trying and they stuck behind us from the off. And when you're players on the pitch, that gives you the confidence to keep going, even when things are going wrong. It shows how important they are."