Ayoze Perez is determined to raise his game this season – and lift Newcastle United up the Premier League.
The forward scored in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea at St James’s Park.
Sometimes in the second season it’s harder. Last season I did well, and I now have to keep the standard.
Perez netted seven league goals in a stunning first season at the club after joining as an unknown from Tenerife last year.
But the 22-year-old is now a known quantity in the English top flight.
And Perez feels he must work doubly hard to bring goals to second-from-bottom Newcastle.
“I have to prove myself and get better,” he said.
“Sometimes in the second season it’s harder. Last season I did well, and I now have to keep the standard. As a striker, I have to score goals and make chances for the team. I’m working to do that.”
Perez is hopeful his fledgling partnership with Aleksandar Mitrovic can solve United’s problems in front of goal.
Steve McClaren’s winless side had been struggling in the final third of the pitch before the Chelsea game.
Perez was paired up front with summer signing Mitrovic for only the second time this season and the pair hit it off.
Newcastle led the champions 2-0 – Perez opened the scoring with a well-taken goal – but they were denied a first league win of the season second-half strikes from Ramires and Willian.
Head coach McClaren felt the physical presence of Mitrovic gave Perez more ‘freedom’ to make runs around him.
And Perez said: “We felt comfortable together.
“We played closer together and spoke a lot to each other about what we wanted to do. We have shown we can score many goals together.”
Perez, however, was frustrated at the result.
“I am really happy to get my first goal, but I’m a little bit sad because we dropped two points,” said the Spain Under-21 international.
“It was a much better performance, but we have to keep it this way. This is the standard.
“We worked as a team, that is the key in this league. If we keep this performance, and this standard, we can win – whatever team we play against.
“We have to keep this standard. There are no excuses. We have done the work, and we have to do that against every team.
“The win was very close, but we have to keep working to get it as soon as possible.
“We are a young side, but we have many, many qualities in the squad and we can win against any team. That is what we have to think and have that in our minds.”
Next up for Newcastle are second-placed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
“Manchester City is another tough game,” he said.
“But, as I said, if we play like we did against Chelsea, we can win and get points in whatever stadium.”