We’ve been impressed with how open and accessible Valentino Lazaro has been since joining Newcastle. That’s especially the case after the disappointing defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.
Straight after the match, Lazaro came out and apologized about the second-half performance. It showed a lot of maturity and leadership from a player who had just joined the club three weeks earlier.
Today the Shields Gazette have published an interview with Valentino. He again is very forthright in his assessment of his performance.
This is some of what the 23-year-old had to say:
“First half, I felt very good and confident on the pitch. I had a lot of ways forward, and also with the set-pieces. We had some chances to score.
“For my first start, I was really happy with the first half. Second half, after those two quick goals, we fell apart. Unfortunately, for the second goal, he gets the ball between my feet, and that was very unlucky.
“It’s a position I’ve played over the last maybe two years. I’m adjusting to that. You can see that I’m a winger, and my strengths are in attack. I’m trying to learn more and more defensively.
“I’m trying to learn more there. With team-mates like this who help me out, it’s a lot easier.”
Lazaro showed the quality he has going forward on Sunday. He was a dynamic force down the flank who created a few chances.
We thought he played well defensively in the first half. However, he was targeted in the second and made a few mistakes that led to goals.
With Bruce ruling out playing four at the back, he’ll have a tough task getting Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Valentino Lazaro on the pitch together without playing Lazaro at wing-back.
The Austrian does seem to prefer playing further forward but may have to settle for the wing-back role. It was just his first Premier League start, so he’ll get more comfortable the more he plays.
We would love to see Almiron playing through the middle with Saint-Maximin and Lazaro on either wing. That could be something Bruce transitions to on occasion when we’re pushing for a goal late in games.