Newcastle midfielder Wijnaldum: Relegation blues hit hard

Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed why he did NOT celebrate the strikes which ended a four-month goal drought.

Saturday, 21st May 2016, 6:05 am
Georginio Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum netted twice in Newcastle United’s season-ending 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

And the midfielder ended the campaign as the relegated Tynesiders’ leading scorer with 11 goals.

But Wijnaldum – who hadn’t scored since January – wasn’t in any mood to celebrate last Sunday given that Newcastle had been relegated from the Premier League four days earlier.

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And, unlike his fellow goalscorers, Wijnaldum didn’t celebrate after finding the net.

“I’m sad that we’re relegated, and that’s why I didn’t celebrate my goals,” said Wijnaldum.

“It’s a strange feeling when you’re relegated but win 5-1.”

United were unbeaten for their last six games, but the improvement under manager Rafa Benitez – who Wijnaldum hopes will stay at the club – came too late to save Newcastle from relegation .

And the 25-year-old admits it was a “strange” afternoon against Tottenham.

“The atmosphere was good,” said the Holland international, who won Dutch league title with PSV Eindhoven before moving to the Magpies last year.

“It was strange, as we know that next season we’re not going to be in the Premier League any more.

“It was a strange feeling. We were unbeaten for six games.

“If we had done that before, we would have had a better chance to survive.

“We were not stable as a team and we lost too many games.

“I think that’s why we were relegated.”

Wijnaldum’s form came under close scrutiny during the second half of the season .

The £14.5million signing hit the ground running in the first few months of his Newcastle career – he memorably netted four times against Norwich City – but his goals dried up after his strike against West Ham United in mid-January.

All of Wijnaldum’s goals came at St James’s Park.

However, he still scored more goals than any other player, including nine-goal striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

“I think in a few matches I didn’t have any luck, but it was good for me that it went in (against Tottenham),” said Wijnaldum.

Rafa Benitez has been linked with a move for Rangers director of recruitment Frank McParland.

Benitez worked with McParland during his time at Liverpool.

McParland – who has had spells at Brentford and Burnley since leaving Liverpool – is credited with taking Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe to Anfield.

United manager Benitez is in talks with the club over staying on at the relegated club.

Should the 56-year-old commit to Newcastle, then chief scout Graham Carr, 71, is expected to leave St James’s Park.

It has been reported that Benitez, keen for full control of transfers, wants to bring in someone to help him with recruitment.

However, McParland – who followed Mark Warburton from Brentford to Rangers – is reportedly happy at Ibrox, in which Newcastle owner Mike Ashley holds a controversial stake.