There could be good news on Javier Manquillo after his excellent performance on Saturday at Old Trafford. It was the Spaniard’s first league start of the campaign and he scored the game’s only goal while putting in a solid shift defensively on the right.
It was Javier’s first goal as a Magpie and was a superb finish from the wing-back. How many times has the 27-year-old come in from the cold to put in a performance out of the blue?
Unfortunately, a knock forced Manquillo off in the 77th minute with The Magpies still within striking distance down just 2-1. It seemed at the time that Steve Bruce made an attacking change bringing on the more attack-minded Jacob Murphy.
However, after the match, Bruce confirmed that all three of the players taken off in the second half were struggling with knocks. So we await news on the availability of Ciaran Clark, Joe Willock, and Manquillo for Friday’s crucial match against Leeds at St. James’ Park.
Manquillo has given an interview with NUFC TV in which he was asked about playing this Friday. That could be a promising sign that the right-back will be available for the match.
Javier was asked about the importance of the Leeds match and if The Magpies have an advantage playing at home:
“Yes, absolutely. Every team of course has an advantage when they are playing in their own stadium. On this occasion, it’s ourselves who will be at home.
“We know we have a fantastic set of fans who are going to be getting right behind us and giving us the support that will give us that bit extra to try and get the win.
“The key thing is to be totally focused on the present and getting that first win – and then we’ll see what happens next after that.”
Manquillo is not looking past Friday’s match. He understands the significance of it as both Leeds and Newcastle are hoping to pick up their first wins of the campaign. As we so often see, three points can make a massive difference to your league position so early in the season.
That is what the focus is during this shortened week of preparation. The loss to Manchester United is now in the rearview mirror as Newcastle try to jumpstart this campaign with a win against Leeds.
Manquillo was asked about any positives Newcastle can take from Saturday’s defeat at Old Trafford. This was his response:
“Yes, whenever you lose a game, you’re always unhappy, and then all you want is the next game to come around as quickly as possible so you can pick up a win and the three points.
“But you always find that you actually learn the most from your defeats. And yes, I think there were lots of positives in that game for us.”
Manquillo has time and again come into the team after long spells on the sideline. He’s made two starts this season including the Carabao Cup defeat against Burnley, where he was also one of Newcastle’s better players.
Javier was asked about his preparations in training when he’s not always getting the run of games he desires. His response reveals a mentality in which he stays ready for when his name gets called:
“Every footballer works hard and trains hard and waits for their opportunity to play to come around. So you just have to always be ready as you never know when it’s going to be your turn to play.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to play against Manchester United and I was ready and prepared for that.”
Manquillo’s attitude shows why he’s always taking his chances when they come. However, he sometimes struggles with consistency when he gets a run of games. It does look like he could be in line for a second straight start on Friday.
It is his defensive acumen that likely got him the nod over Jacob Murphy against the high-scoring Red Devils. Leeds too are an attack-minded side so Manquillo could get the call once again.
The news is slightly less optimistic regarding Joe Willock. According to The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, the midfielder is still nursing a knock but will be further assessed in the coming days. Hopefully, Willock will get the go-ahead for Friday’s ultra-critical match.