Jamaal Lascelles was happy to get Joselu out of trouble at St James’s Park – after the Newcastle striker missed a hat-trick of chances.
The Magpie captain scored the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stoke City, lifting Rafa Benitez’s men up to fourth place in the Premier League.
Lascelles – who had also netted the Tynesiders’ winner against Swansea six days earlier – spoke to Joselu after the final whistle.
The striker, signed from Stoke for £5million last month, was disappointed after failing to score against his former club. Asked about their embrace, Lascelles said: “That’s what team-mates do.
“If it was down the other end and I’d let a goal in and he went down the other end and scored, I’d have gone up to him and said the same.
“He knows himself he should’ve scored a couple of goals today, but good team-mates get each other out of the ****.
“He’s done a great job for us. He held the ball up well, he kept finding himself in dangerous areas and he’s been a real threat for defences in other games as well, so it’s certainly not one of them when I’m going to have a go at him.
“He knows he should have put a couple away, but it’s no different from one of us losing the ball or not making a block at the back. It’s what team-mates are for. He’s been a great player for us so far.”
Lascelles headed a second-half corner from Matt Ritchie in off the crossbar to secure all three points.
Christian Atsu’s opener had been cancelled out by a superb 57th-minute Xherdan Shaqiri strike.
Lascelles, 23, added: “I don’t think I’ve scored two so early on, but Matt Ritchie’s delivery is just so good. In the Premier League, it’s a little bit different, because in the Championship it’s more of a wrestling match in the box. Players will get hold of you and they’re big, strong boys and they defend set-pieces well.
“In the Premier League, when they mark zonal, you can get a running jump. Last week (at Swansea), I managed to get myself into a good area and I was disappointed I didn’t score in the first half. I should have done. But it’s something we’re working on. I’d like to aim higher.”
Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Hayden (Shelvey 69), Merino, Ritchie, Perez (Diame 86), Atsu, Joselu (Gayle 78). Subs: Murphy, Manquillo, Lejeune, Woodman. Booked: Hayden, Clark, Merino. Goals: Atsu 19, Lascelles 68
Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Martins Indi, Wimmer, Diouf, Allen (Crouch 84), Fletcher, Pieters, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Jese (Sobhi 62). Subs not used: Johnson, Berahino, Tymon, Adam, Grant. Booked: Wimmer. Goal: Shaqiri 57
Att: 51,795. Ref: Stuart Atwell (Nuneaton).