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We can cope with the pressure, says skipper

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Jamaal Lascelles highlighted Newcastle United’s mental strength as being key to Saturday’s 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic at St. James’ Park.

Goals from Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie helped the Magpies to a first victory on home soil since February, the latter netting within minutes of Michael Jacobs’ leveller for Wigan.

A surprise defeat for Huddersfield Town at home to Burton Albion – Newcastle’s opponents on Wednesday night – means that Rafa Benitez’s side now lead the Terriers by ten points.

And, after coming through something of a banana skin, Lascelles heaped praise on his teammates for keeping their heads against the struggling Latics.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with how the boys conducted themselves,” he told nufc.co.uk. “We didn’t show any signs of complacency. Their goal was down to a lack of concentration – and I could have done much better – but on the whole, we were fairly comfortable.

“Obviously, it’s a different story for those fighting for their lives down at the bottom, but all of these other teams are playing with no pressure. Now, Huddersfield have had a glimpse of what pressure is like. They’ve been playing without pressure, and they’ve lost at home to Burton today.

“We’ve been playing with that for a long time, which goes to show we can cope with the mental side of football as well as the tactical and technical.”

Lascelles also paid tribute to leading marksman Gayle, who broke the deadlock ten minutes before the break with his first goal at St. James’ Park since December.

“Dwight’s a massive part of our team. Before his injury, he was unbelievable,” Lascelles said. “Now, getting a bit of confidence after scoring a good goal today, he can hopefully start flying like he was earlier on in the season.

“I’m very pleased to see him back in the team.”

"We’ve been playing with that (pressure) for a long time, which goes to show we can cope with the mental side of football as well as the tactical and technical."

Jamaal Lascelles

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