January 14, 2020 11:22:08 PM
Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is hoping the end of striker Joelinton’s 20-game goal drought will set the £40million man off and running.
The 23-year-old Brazilian had not scored since August when he turned home substitute Tom Allan’s 82nd-minute cross in the Magpies’ 4-1 FA Cup third round replay victory over League One Rochdale at St James’ Park.
Now Bruce is hoping the frontman can take a leaf out of Miguel Almiron’s book after the Paraguay international scored for the fourth time in seven games.
The head coach said: “Look, it’s a hard job to play here. There’s an expectation on you and if you have a big transfer fee – which is not his fault – and you are young and the burden that comes on you, then sometimes it becomes difficult.
“You never worry because you can see him in training and you can see what he’s got. Many, many players have come to the Premier League as well with big experience and find it a struggle, so let’s hope it just gives him that bit of confidence which every striker needs.
“You saw the difference in him straight away. From the last five minutes to the first five minutes, you saw it straight away because he scored a goal.”
Newcastle were already leading 3-0 through Eoghan O’Connell’s own goal, a second from Matty Longstaff and Almiron’s effort when Joelinton struck and immediately headed for Bruce on the sideline.
The former Manchester United defender said: “I was absolutely worried sick that he was going to come and jump on me because that would have done me in.
“He was just shouting in Spanish or Brazilian or Portuguese – what does he speak, Portuguese? I don’t know what the hell it was, to be honest.”
Defender Jordan Williams pulled one back for the visitors as time ran down, but it was the Magpies who booked a home tie with third tier Oxford in the fourth round as Bruce prepares to meet owner Mike Ashley – who was at the game – to discuss transfer business.
He said: “He’s been supportive since I’ve walked through the door and if there is somebody there that can improve us, then we’ll try to act, as I’ve said many times.”
Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy admitted his side had given themselves too much to do after conceding three times inside the opening 26 minutes, but was pleased with the way his players responded.
He said: “We went to Old Trafford earlier in the season and we were lauded for everything that we did there. But there were moments in the first half there when Manchester United had gilt-edged chances and we just managed to defend them.
“Tonight, we weren’t able to do that and things went against us in the first half. It was really important to see how we reacted in that situation and whether we were able to maintain our way of playing and display our personality.
“We did that in the second half and it was very, very encouraging for us all moving forward.”