KSC Lokeren (a) Friendly
13 mins A neat interchange of passes between Ayoze Perez and Rolando Aarons ended with Perez ramming in a low effort from close range at the near post. 1-0
26 mins Playing in a right midfield berth, Daryl Janmaat headed in a Perez free-kick after Vurnon Anita was fouled just outside the box. What looked like a genuine celebration from the player as he returned to his own half included an acknowledgement of some family members in the stand - his Dutch birthplace lies just under 100 miles from Lokeren 2-0
38 mins The goal of the game came when Gayle failed to get his shot away but Perez popped up and drove the loose ball firmly home. 3-0
Lokeren 0 Magpies 3
Full time: Lokeren 0 Magpies 4
Rafa Benitez commented:
"I am happy because you always are when your team win.
"It’s good to score four goals and get a clean sheet but we are still at the beginning of the season, and in pre-season.
"There is plenty of room of improvement. I am happy but we have to keep working.
"I have seen an improvement in some things, obviously the play was fine but still I want to see more.
"I don’t know the physical condition of the other team but I could see them trying hard in the early part of the game.
"We got an early goal and it is not easy when you play friendlies. Sometimes you win because you are closer (to full match fitness) but sometimes you don’t want to get injuries.
"If it goes to 2-0 early sometimes your opponents don’t push as much as they have to.
"We’re still trying to improve the squad but you have to give players minutes. Next week we will have the team a little bit closer to the one that starts the season.”
Georges Leekens - Brugge Coach when United last visited Belgium in 2012:
“I am not disappointed, they (Newcastle) were much better - they had more class and technique.
“We tried our best but we gave away too
many chances and every chance seemed to be coming towards our goal.
“We played against a team and club that will be back very fast into the Premier League. I think when you look at the quality of their side and their coach I know I can put my money on Newcastle this season.
“It wasn’t exactly a League One or League Two club, this was a proper Championship team that should go up. There is no disappointment but I know we have some work to do between now and our first league game (away to Saint-Truiden this coming Saturday - 30th).
Newcastle continued their unbeaten pre-season run on Saturday with a routine
victory in Belgium, replicating the scoreline from their only previous visit
to Lokeren's Daknam Stadium back in 2001.
The home side lost the services of defender Denis Odoi who has joined Fulham, but the veteran Brazilian defender Joao Carlos remains in the squad and played today - he faced us wearing the colours of Anji Makhachkala during our 2012/13 Europa League run.
Also appearing were Lokeren's Icelandic Euro 2016 duo Ari Freyr Skúlason and Ingi Sverrir Ingason, but neither particularly caught the eye. Perhaps they were tired from all that clapping.....
Wearing their third-choice white and purple strip once again, Jamaal Lascelles led the side out to what was only a sparsely occupied stadium with the stands behind each goal unused.
It took United ten minutes to find their feet and register a shot - Dwight Gayle's low effort skidding harmlessly across the six yard box.
Within three minutes though they were in front, with a neat interchange of passes between Ayoze Perez and Rolando Aarons ending with Perez ramming in a low effort from close range at the near post.
That lead was then doubled on 26 minutes, when Daryl Janmaat - playing in a right midfield berth - headed in a Perez free-kick after Vurnon Anita was fouled just outside the box.
The goal of the game arrived when Gayle failed to get his shot away but Perez drove the loose ball firmly home - question marks again being asked of the home defence.
A trio of substitutes started the second half and it took just three minutes for new arrival Jonjo Shelvey to register his first Toon goal - although a sizeable deflection saw the ball arc over the 'keeper and in.
Rafa made further changes and again paired Adam Armstrong with Aleksander Mitrovic - although the latter failed to emulate his last two visits here for Anderlecht and score.
Matt Ritchie had a slight groin strain and didn't make the day trip from England, while new signing Grant Hanley didn't travel with the squad and will work on his fitness instead.
Despite uncertainty over their futures, there was further pitch time for messrs Thauvin, Gouffran and Tiote - the latter picking up a booking following a scissors tackle that the home player didn't milk. Had he done so, then we could have had another dismissal given the referee's keenness.
Going back to Gouffran, an apparent reluctance to reach a settlement on the final twelve months of his contract may yet see him remain in the squad, but Rafa's experimentation hasn't extended to playing him in the central role that brought him ten goals in his first season and a half.
Jesus is dismissed
With two minutes left and the game seemingly drifting to a conclusion, Jesus Gámez and
Marco Miric were
shown red cards for some low level pushing following the award of a free
kick for a foul on the Spaniard near the corner flag. It's fair to
say that neither he or his manager looked bothered.