Georginio Wijnaldum hailed Newcastle United’s 6-2 demolition of Norwich City as the “beautiful game” – as the Magpies gained a massive pre-derby boost of confidence.
Wijnaldum scored four times in yesterday’s Premier League victory at St James’s Park, with the win lifting the Tynesiders above Sunderland and Aston Villa ahead of this Sunday’s Wear-Tyne showdown.
The win, Newcastle’s first in the league this season, owed everything to the finishing of Wijnaldum, signed from PSV Eindhoven in the summer for £14million.
They scored six yesterday. This Sunday, they need to avoid six being the crucial number – after five successive derby defeats.
“It was a beautiful game for me, the whole team and the fans in the stadium, but especially for me as I scored four goals,” said Wijnaldum.
“It’s wonderful, like a dream come true for me.”
Asked about his performance, Wijnaldum added: “I just enjoy the moment, especially moments like this because it’s not normal to score four goals in a game. I enjoy it and appreciate it.
“What I realise is that every game is different. What I will do now is enjoy the moment, and (then) I will focus on Sunderland.
“As I say, it’s not normal to score four goals in a game. I will try (to do it again), but it will be hard.
“These are special moments in your career.”
Head coach Steve McClaren – whose side had been beaten 6-1 by Manchester City in their last game before the international break – had been under intense pressure before the match.
McClaren needed something special to kick-start the season.
And Wijnaldum, ably assisted by Moussa Sissoko, provided it.For his part, Wijnaldum, 24, was just relieved to make a match-winning contribution.
“I’d already scored two goals before, but we didn’t get the results,” he said.
“If you score and you get a result, you are happier. It gives you a better feeling.
“To get four, be part of the first win and work hard is great.
“It will give us a lot of confidence for the next match.”
Wijnaldum, however, won’t be resting on his laurels ahead of the derby at Sunderland.
Newcastle, beaten in the last five derbies, will need another huge performance from Wijnaldum if they are to end that sequence.
“I will work hard – I start on zero,” said the Holland international. “I’ll look to create chances and goals.”
Newcastle played with a tenacity and intensity which had been entirely absent in the second half at the Etihad Stadium in their previous outing.
The breakthrough came in the 15th minute when Moussa Sissoko cleverly created himself enough space to slip a ball into the box for Wijnaldum, who beat John Ruddy with a neat finish.
Minutes later, Robbie Brady struck the post from distance with home keeper Rob Elliot well beaten.
And the lead didn’t last, with a slow-to-react Sissoko, so good going forward, partly culpable.
Martin Olsson broke down the left and cross for Dieumerci Mbokani, who stuck a leg out and managed to put the ball past Elliot.
Newcastle regained the lead when Sissoko found Wijnaldum in the box, and he headed home.
Ayoze Perez, overshadowed by Wijnaldum and Sissoko up to then, came to life. After a quick break forward, he took the ball. Perez saw his first attempt blocked, but he beat Ruddy with his second attempt.
Norwich responded from another left-wing cross from Olsson.
Daryl Janmaat, earlier fortunate not to get penalised for pulling Jonny Howson’s shirt in the box, didn’t get close to stopping the delivery, which was met at the far post by a Nathan Redmond volley.
Newcastle struggled early in the second half, defending a 3-2 lead, but they bagged a vital fourth goal when Aleksandar Mitrovic chested down Sissoko’s angled right-wing cross and smashed the ball past Ruddy.
Another Wijnaldum strike followed two minutes later, this time from a Janmaat cross, and the midfielder capped ahis afternoon with a fourth strike, albeit a deflected one, five minute from time.
Newcastle: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett (Haidara 65), Sissoko, Tiote (Anita 46), Colback, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic (Cisse 88). Subs not used: De Jong, Lascelles, Thauvin, Woodman. Booked: Tiote. Goals: Wijnaldum 14, 26, 66, 85, Perez 33, Mitrovic 64
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson (Jerome 84), Dorrans (O’Neil 84), Tettey (Hoolahan 62), Redmond, Howson, Brady, Mbokani. Subs not used: Wisdom, Rudd, Jarvis, Bennett. Booked: Dorrans. Goals: Mbokani 20, Redmond 34.
Att: 47,006. Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).