Newcastle United’s goal-scoring hero Aleksandar Mitrovic was delighted to see hard work behind the scenes pay off as Steve McClaren’s team climbed out of the relegation zone with a stunning 2-1 comeback win at Tottenham on Sunday.
The visitors had offered little as an attacking force at White Hart Lane until the 74th minute, when Mitrovic pounced on poor set-piece defending to smuggle home an equaliser 109 seconds after entering the field.
That cancelled out Eric Dier’s 39th-minute opener and Tottenham were condemned to their first Premier League defeat since the opening day of the season when Mitrovic fed fellow substitute Ayoze Perez to steer an angled strike through goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Serbia international Mitrovic was an unused substitute for Newcastle’s previous two matches – including last weekend’s impressive 2-0 triumph over Liverpool – but the fiery frontman felt he was rewarded for his patience at White Hart Lane
“I’ve worked hard and waited for my moment,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ve worked with the fitness coach every day [and] when I came on he said I was going to score.
“It was a goal for him today. Rob [Elliot], too was on fire.”
Newcastle goalkeeper Elliot was particularly impressive when Tottenham were in the ascendancy during the first half and he credited the club’s fans for their loyalty during a trying start to the campaign.
“It’s a bit euphoric to be fair, the fans have been unbelievable sticking with us,” he said.
“The lads were amazing and after last week, we had to make sure we didn’t take our foot off the gas.
“The boys who came on to score the goals have been a bit unlucky not to play from the start. When we all play together you see what happens.”
Next up for 18th-placed Newcastle is a crunch showdown with bottom side Aston Villa on Saturday.