JONAS Gutierrez has the legs for the hard yards ahead of him this season.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew felt Gutierrez had his best pre-season game yet on Tuesday night, when the club drew 1-1 with Rangers.
He believed Gutierrez was more like his energetic “old self” at Ibrox, where he threatened down the left flank and created an isolated Papiss Demba Cisse’s only real chance.
Up to the Rangers match, the former Argentina international had struggled to make an impression on United’s friendly opponents.
Pardew’s confident Gutierrez’s fitness is now at the required level.
“I thought Jonas played very well,” Pardew said. “He was more like his old self.
“He was much more positive, and he is at a better physical level. I was pleased with him.”
Newcastle’s players – who have been put through an intensive pre-season - were worked hard in the run-up to the game, and there was “fatigue” in some players’ legs at Ibrox, according to Pardew.
United weren’t at their best – the team created few clearcut chances - but the squad’s efforts on the training field over the past week have heartened Pardew ahead of the new season.
“I was pleased with most of the team, because they were playing under fatigue,” added Pardew.
“It is difficult to judge if you were looking at them just on the Rangers performance, but looking at them over the last few days, they’ve worked so hard.”
Pardew’s staff are assessing the groin strain suffered by captain Fabricio Coloccini against Rangers.