herald

Thursday 18 July 2019

Perez calls on Toon to kick on

Ayoze Perez. Pic: PA
Ayoze Perez. Pic: PA

Hat-trick hero Ayoze Perez has urged Newcastle not to take their foot off the gas as they attempt to match last season's top-10 Premier League finish.

The 25-year-old Spaniard's first treble for the club secured a 3-1 win over Southampton on Saturday evening to lift the Magpies to 41 points, 10 clear of Cardiff in the last remaining relegation berth, and effectively safe.

However, he insists they will not rest on their laurels, despite climbing into 12th place with three games remaining.

Perez said: "We need to have the ambition to go into the next game and fight for the three points knowing that getting them, we're going to be in an even better position. That's the way we have to think."

Perez took centre-stage at St James' Park when, minutes after James Ward-Prowse had escaped a red card for cynically blocking Miguel Almiron's run on halfway as the Paraguayan and Salomon Rondon staged a two-on-one breakaway, he fired the Magpies into a 27th-minute lead with an astute finish.

He doubled his tally from Rondon's inviting cross four minutes later and, after Saints substitute Mario Lemina had sparked a concerted fightback with 59th-minute strike, headed home his third with time running down.

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