Spirits high heading into summer - Joselu
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Joselu thinks that Newcastle United’s players will be heading into the summer break in upbeat mood after rounding off a fine campaign with a superb 3-0 win over Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Having lost four on the trot beforehand, the Magpies produced a scintillating attacking display to see off last season’s Premier League champions, with Ayoze Pérez’s second-half brace adding to Dwight Gayle’s opener.
Victory against Antonio Conte’s troops also made sure of a top-ten finish for Newcastle – something that no newly-promoted side have managed since the 2012/13 campaign, when West Ham United accomplished the feat.
And frontman Joselu admitted that the Magpies could hardly have ended the season any better, insisting that anything less than a win would have dampened their spirits going into the warmer weather.
“We know how difficult it is to win these kind of games, but we know how important it is to finalise the classification in the top ten, and we did it,” he told nufc.co.uk. “It’s a really nice season for us, and even better when you finish the season at home and you win 3-0.
“The feeling is better because we have won the last game at home, in front of our fans. That’s very important, because you go on your holidays with a good atmosphere. If you lose today, you go on your holidays a little bit upset. I think it’s the perfect day for us because we know how difficult it is to win against a team like Chelsea. They are very strong, so for us it is amazing.”
The Magpies got off to a flying start in their first season back in the top flight, perched as high as sixth in mid-October following a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace – their fourth of the campaign.
However, a lengthy run without a victory meant that they were sat in the bottom three ahead of their trip to West Ham United just before Christmas. A 3-2 success at the London Stadium proved the catalyst for a revival, though, and a memorable second half of the campaign saw both Manchester United and Arsenal despatched at St. James’ Park, as well as Sunday’s opposition.
Joselu acknowledged that tussles with the division’s heavyweights appear to have brought the best out of Newcastle this term, and – despite their final position in the table – the Spaniard was quick to stress that the Magpies should keep looking up when they return for duty in July.
“We’ve had a lot of games when we’ve played good – against Man United, against Arsenal as well. We need to keep going for next season now. We need to enjoy the summer, and next season try to do the best thing for us, because we have ambitions in this league,” he said.
“We know that every game is difficult because this is the best league in the world and all the teams are difficult to win against. I think we need to be more focused in every game and not just against big, big clubs. But I think it’s been a nice season and now we need to enjoy the summer.”
Joselu was quick to establish his place in the starting XI after joining United from Stoke City last summer, but has mainly been used as a substitute since the start of the New Year.
He has still managed to rack up over 30 appearances in his maiden campaign at St. James’ Park, but – after finding the net four times – the 28-year-old frontman is already looking to add to his goals tally next time out.
“Of course, I am a striker, and of course I want to score more goals,” he said. “But, the strikers do not just need to score – we have another job, behind the goals. We had some good moments for the second strikers today, as well. I did something good for Ayo, and Ayo scored. That is just one thing – we are a team and we need to (keep playing) like this.”
Asked as to what lay in store on a personal level over the summer, Joselu revealed that he won’t be journeying quite as far as one or two of his teammates…
“I will not be doing a lot! My wife needs surgery, next week, so we need to stay,” he said. “We will relax at home for a couple of weeks, with my son, and after that we will maybe have a small travel with friends.”
"We need to keep going for next season now. We need to enjoy the summer, and next season try to do the best thing for us, because we have ambitions in this league."