Match-winner Salomon Rondon has warned Newcastle they will have to scrap for every point this season after firing them to back-to-back Premier League victories.
The Venezuela international frontman struck twice on Saturday as the Magpies added another three points to those they claimed against Watford last weekend with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
Victory lifted Rafael Benitez’s men into 14th place in the table, hours after they had slipped back into the bottom three as a result of Cardiff’s 2-1 win over 10-man Brighton but Rondon, a summer loan signing from West Brom, is taking nothing for granted.
He told NUFC TV: “We know Watford in the last game, they were doing really, really well in the league, the same as Bournemouth.
“We know this league is difficult, this league is a high level. You have to be ready to fight in every game. We were ready to fight against Bournemouth, we know what we need in the league.
“But the most important thing is we got the three points.”
Newcastle worked all summer to land Rondon, who has a £16.5million release clause in his contract, but were ultimately unable to do a permanent deal with the Baggies, who eventually took Dwight Gayle on loan in return.
He arrived injured and then picked up a thigh problem which has limited his involvement on Tyneside.
However on Saturday, he turned in a display which showcased not only his finishing, but his abilities to hold the ball up, pressurise defenders and buy fouls in a fine display of traditional centre-forward play.
He said: “When you are coming back from an injury, you want to play, you want to get fit quickly. The confidence the manager has put in my, and the supporters, the Newcastle team, it’s a pressure for a striker.
“Injuries are part of football, but now with these goals, the confidence is going up and I will just keep working.”
Rondon fired the Magpies ahead from close range with just seven minutes gone, reacting smartly after keeper Asmir Begovic had saved his snapshot from DeAndre Yedlin’s cross.
In the meantime, Bournemouth full-back Adam Smith had been carried off on a stretcher after suffering a potentially serious knee injury, and it was during the eight minutes of stoppage time that his side got themselves back into the game when record signing Jefferson Lerma stooped to head Ryan Fraser’s corner past Martin Dubravka.
The visitors mounted a sustained effort to snatch a point after the break, but ultimately were unable to do so as Newcastle held out in dogged fashion and might even have increased their lead.
Manager Eddie Howe was disappointed with his side’s first-half display on Tyneside, but remains confident they will prosper if they continue to play as they did thereafter.
He said: “We feel we’re good enough, if we perform well, to beat almost anybody in the division. Today, we didn’t hit our best levels of performance and we were beaten, and we know that this league is ruthless enough to do that to you.
“The challenge for us is to goo away, analyse the game and make sure we came away a better team from it.”
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