Newcastle United secured their first Premier League victory of the season on Saturday as the Magpies defeated Watford 1-0 at St James’ Park.
Rafael Benitez had Ayoze Perez to thank as the Spaniard came off the bench to score the game’s only goal, but the former Liverpool boss mustn’t overreact to the 25-year-old’s impact against the Hornets.
Simply put, Perez, on a reported £45,000-per-week on Tyneside [Source: Spotrac], had been woeful up until Saturday, and there’s no reason to think that he can repeat his performance against Watford moving forward.
One good display off the bench does not erase a multitude of sins from the Spaniard this term. He shouldn’t automatically be viewed as a solution having appeared a problem prior to the Watford game just because he scored a goal off the bench.
No, Benitez should keep Perez motivated by benching him once again against Bournemouth on Saturday. The attacker needs to know that more consistency is needed before he breaks back into the first team. He was given multiple chances this season and did next to nothing with them; he can’t suddenly be considered a lock for a first team spot.
Benitez regarded Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon as an effective partnership heading into the Watford game and most supporters appeared to agree with him.
In fact, many Magpies fans had been calling for Perez to be dropped for weeks. Again, one good performance shouldn’t erase the previous 10 sub-par showings he’d delivered in the Premier League this term.
Bournemouth are an excellent team who are having a terrific season so far. It will be tough to get anything from Saturday’s game no matter who Benitez opts for.
But you get the sense that Perez may be better suited to the role of impact substitute at this point. When he starts games he tends to sleepwalk through matches and that’s not what Newcastle need against the Cherries.
It would be easy for fans and, the manager too, to get carried away after Perez’s impact against Watford, but it’s important that perspective is maintained. Perez hasn’t been good enough this year and one good display doesn’t change that; Benitez must leave him on the bench against Bournemouth.