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Sunday 4 December 2016

Shelvey hails Toon fighting spirit

Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey
Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey ended a "perfect" week on Tyneside with a priceless victory which breathed new life into Newcastle's Premier League survival bid.

Saturday's 2-1 home win over West Ham, which came four days after a hard-fought 3-3 draw with Manchester United at St James' Park, lifted the Magpies out of the bottom three, for the time being at least, and created a new sense of optimism on Tyneside.

That was in part due to the impact made by £12million debutant Shelvey, who injected fresh impetus into a team which had previously struggled going forward.

The 23-year-old England international played a part in both his side's goals, and although he was later involved in an unseemly spat with Hammers striker Enner Valencia, it was a day to remember.

Shelvey said: "It's an easy place to come and play football, to be honest with you. The fans are behind you, there are some tremendous players in that dressing room.

"It normally takes a little bit of time for players to settle, but I felt right at home.

Perfect

"The players were reading my passes very well and people were getting into position, so it was just easy. I thought it would be a lot harder than it has been this week, but it has been perfect.

"It was a massive win. It's been a great week for the club - it was a great point against Manchester United and we have followed it up with a massive win against West Ham.

"It was a perfect performance, I think, in the first half. We started really well, pressed the ball and they rarely played out from the back. We showed real intent and got our two early goals."

It was Shelvey who paved the way for Ayoze Perez's sixth-minute opener when his pass was expertly laid off by Georginio Wijnaldum for the former Tenerife frontman to curl an inch-perfect shot past keeper Adrian's outstretched arm. But the raking cross-field ball from which full-back Daryl Janmaat set up Wijnaldum for his ninth goal of the season nine minutes later was even better and left head coach Steve McClaren purring.

Shelvey said modestly: "It's quite an easy pass to make. Daryl makes those forward runs all the time - he's a very advanced full-back - and if he keeps making those runs, I'll always try to find him."

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