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Pérez pleased to get off the mark

Written by Tom Easterby

Ayoze Pérez expressed his relief after opening his account for the season in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Southampton – and says he hopes there will be many more to come.

The Magpies were twice pegged back on the south coast, as Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace – including a leveller from the penalty spot – cancelled out strikes from Isaac Hayden and Pérez.

The Spaniard had shown great persistence to grab his first of the campaign, following up to beat Fraser Forster from a tight angle after the former United stopper had spilled his first effort.

And the 24-year-old is hopeful that he’ll become a more regular name on the scoresheet after netting his first competitive goal since the final day of last season.

“I was really happy to score my first official goal this season,” he told nufc.co.uk. “I’m really pleased with that, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get the three points.

“But we have to keep doing the same, working in the same way. We are doing quite well, and now we’ll look at the next one.

“Sometimes the strikers need goals, and in this case I’m really pleased to have scored a goal, and hopefully there is a lot more to come.

“Now I have to keep working hard, and we have to make sure that we prepare well for the next game, and as today, we are ready for it.”

The Magpies had a few chances to win the game late on, most notably through defender Florian Lejeune, who saw his header hacked off the line.

Pérez – who turned in a typically hard-working display before being replaced by Mikel Merino in the second half – acknowledged the graft that the entire team put in at St. Mary’s, as they battled to contain a Saints side who saw plenty of the ball.

“We all know what we have to do. We work as a team and if we have to suffer, we do it, as we did sometimes in the first half. But we know it’s going to be like that – sometimes you have to suffer and defend.

“But we all know what we have to, which is really important. I’m really pleased to be part of this team.

“It was a little bit disappointing that we drew, but once again the team showed great character knowing what we had to do and doing our best when we could.

“To be honest, they didn’t create too many chances – clear chances – but they were trying and trying, and sometimes that gives you something at the end of it.

“We took the lead twice, which is important in this competition and away from home, but we got a point and now we’ve got to think about the next one.”

"Sometimes the strikers need goals, and in this case I’m really pleased to have scored a goal, and hopefully there is a lot more to come."

Ayoze Pérez

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