Aleksandar Mitrovic: Anger fuelled performance against Tottenham
Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has revealed anger at not being in the team's starting XI fuelled his decisive performance against Tottenham on Sunday.
Mitrovic came off the bench to help the Magpies dramatically end Spurs' 14-match unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane. His goal 16 minutes from time drew the game level at 1-1, and the Serbian international credits his display to recent pregame snubs by boss Steve McClaren.
"I was angry because I spent two games on the bench and I wanted to show that I deserved to play," Mitrovic said on Monday.
"Okay, I didn't say anything because I respect Papiss Cisse, he played really well the last two weeks and he scored against Palace. And I respect the coach, so I didn't say anything and I waited for my moment -- and it came against Tottenham. It is hard for anyone to be on the bench but I worked hard and waited for my moment. When I was on the bench, I worked harder.
"Every game I want to prove myself and I was concentrating on trying to score goals. I scored against Man City and against Norwich and it is the best feeling when you score and when you win in the last minute."
In a fine run of recent form, Newcastle have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham on consecutive weekends. With bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa up next, the 21-year-old Mitrovic says the team must play as well against less-fashionable opponents also.
"Against teams at the bottom we haven't played like we have against teams from the top five. We need to change that and to play every game like we did against Man City in the first half, like how we did against Chelsea, and like we did against Tottenham," Mitrovic said. "We need to press and to play football because we have very good players who know how to play, and we need to use that and play every game like this.
"We were under a lot of pressure after two bad results against Leicester and Crystal Palace and we were disappointed because we know we have the quality to play good football and to be in the top 10, and we don't know why we lost those games in that way. What has changed? We changed our mentality. The gaffer spoke a lot with the players and we showed against Tottenham that we have got the ability to play against big teams and change the game.
"Against Leicester we were 1-0 down and we didn't do anything to change it, but against Tottenham we showed we could change the game."