By Russell Edge
Newcastle United attacker Ayoze Perez has claimed that the Magpies can tackle the Premier League’s top sides in their first season back in the top flight.
Manager Rafael Benitez and his side have enjoyed a relatively solid start to life back in the Premier League following their relegation two seasons ago, with 10 points on the board seeing them sit in ninth after seven games.
They are the highest placed club out of the newly promoted sides, with play-off champions Huddersfield a point behind in 11th and the Magpies’ title rivals Brighton down in 14th.
Perez, who has been an ever present in the starting XI for Newcastle this season, believes that the club’s display in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Sunday has proven that they can take on the big boys of the Premier League.
He told the Mirror: “We’ve had a few different tests, but we showed against Liverpool that we can handle ourselves against a top side.
“We have to keep growing and improving, but we’ve shown that we’re comfortable at this level.
“Most people were probably expecting us to lose – we knew we were probably going to suffer, because they move the ball and move around really well.
“We gave everything to make sure we didn’t, and that’s important.”
The Spanish forward’s claim may come off as ambitious, considering they have played just two of the top ten sides from last season so far, picking up a solitary point.
Their draw on Sunday against the Reds followed their opening day defeat to Tottenham at St James’ Park, with Jonjo Shelvey’s red card destroying Rafa Benitez’s game plan.
They have also tasted defeat to both Huddersfield and Brighton, while they picked up three successive victories against West Ham, Swansea and Stoke City, all who finished in the bottom half last season.
Their next match, coming after the international break, sees them make the long trip down to the south coast to take on Southampton.
In other Newcastle United news, the Toon Army poked fun at one Liverpool star after his display on Sunday.