Newcastle United new-boy Joselu has given a superb interview in The Chronicle this week, opening up about his missed chances, his love for Newcastle – a place he now calls ‘home’ – and his relationship with the ‘perfect’ Rafa Benitez.
Joselu begins by heaping praise on us the fans, revealing how so many have stopped to thank him for his hard work in the team – even when he was missing a few too many chances:
“Since I joined Newcastle I have had so many more supporters coming up to me on the streets than at any of my previous clubs. This is a big club and you can feel how the supporters love their club – but the one thing the supporters say is ‘Thank you for working hard for the club’.
“I feel the love of the supporters and it pulls you on during the games. If you’re tired you hear the supporters cheers or their voices in your head and think ‘I will go again’.
“I have had people stop me and say ‘Thank you’ which is amazing to hear. They say we want players who work hard and I love hearing this. I work hard every week, in every training session to do my best on the pitch and at the weekend.
“If I score, that’s great but if it doesn’t work out with the goals then I will work hard to make sure it works well for other players in the team.”
The Spaniard has scored two goals in 5 starts for us so far this season, but he could’ve easily had a few more, having come close against Swansea and missing a hat-trick of big chances in games against Stoke and Brighton recently.
Joselu touches on these wasted opportunities below, also admitting how relieved he was to score against Liverpool and how special the Newcastle fans made it to play at St James’ Park that day:
“That is a moment you can’t describe. When you are score and you’re a striker, you’re always happy to score a goal but the noise during this game was incredible. I could hear the cheer.
“Also when you an important goal to take a point or three and against a big team like Liverpool, it’s important. I felt super emotional because I know I had a couple of big chances in the last few games but football is like that. You maybe miss a chance and then you score maybe five goals in the next three weeks. Football is crazy – we love it because of this.
“When I score, I tried to shoot and the ball touched my leg and went into the corner. I felt ‘Yes! I need this’. It was very important for me and the team and the fans. We know when we play at home we have one player more than the opposition.
“It is like when we saw the message for the manager in Spanish. You think ‘Wow, they are amazing’. All the fans are with us and when you go and run and put it in a tackle, you touch the ball and the goes out. It is Liverpool’s ball but it doesn’t matter: the fans go crazy and they go up as one. This gives you power.
“I love the atmosphere and the feeling at Newcastle.”
Great words from the Spaniard – who sounds like he’s really settling in to life on Tyneside.
It’s interesting to see him say he ‘needed’ that goal, however he then suggested that his confidence hadn’t been affected by big misses against Stoke or Brighton:
“Against Stoke I know I missed two good opportunities but after this I try to think about the next game and trying to win the next game.”
“I know I will score and I know I will miss chances. It is football. I don’t think about the (missed) chances. The good thing is I try to work hard every week to try to do my best every weekend and the results are there. We have 10 points now, it’s a good start to the season.
Finally, he talks about Rafa Benitez. A manager he describes as ‘perfect’ and someone who clearly knows him well, helping him and his family integrate into the area which now feels like ‘home’ according to the Spaniard:
“Rafa’s perfect. It’s a lot different from when I was at Stoke. We train every day, we focus on the game at the weekend and every day is different. Rafa talks to us every minute and he wants every player to know their work for the weekend. He will say to every player individually ‘You do this’, ‘You do this’. Working with Rafa is perfect for me and all the players because he’s a perfect manager.
“He knew me really well when he approached me to sign for Newcastle. He talked with me, he called me and he told me about Newcastle and the club. He integrated me quickly – in the club, in the team and in the city too.
“It’s very important for new players to feel like this. This is home: everyone is so friendly and helpful, even with my wife at the stadium, helping out with the baby. It feels like a family.”
Joselu comes over so well in this interview. He sounds like a determined and passionate character who has clearly fallen in love with the football club and people of Newcastle.
Here’s hoping he can take confidence from his much needed goal against Liverpool and kick on from here.