Ghana winger Christian Atsu scores
Ghana winger Christian Atsu scored as Newcastle United warmed up for the Tottenham test next weekend with a comfortable 2-0 win over Serie A newcomers Hellas Verona on Sunday.
Newcastle United signed off their pre-season schedule with a home victory against Serie A side Hellas Verona on a soggy afternoon at St James’ Park.
The Magpies showed glimpses of quality against the Italian side but much tougher tests await them in the Premier League for the remainder of the month.
Rafa Benitez - who issued a fresh transfer pledge before the game - knows that his side require some reinforcements before the transfer window slams shut but after just one defeat in six matches in pre-season he will be satisfied with the efforts of the players he does have behind him going into the new season.
However, this game offered a glance at how tough life will be if injuries cut into the squad for Benitez.
With Dwight Gayle out with a hamstring problem against Hellas Verona, United know they are just an injury or two away from problems in their frontline.
Therefore, a striker HAS to be the priority in the remainder of the transfer window.
But United still managed to see off Fabio Pecchia’s side without an out-and-out striker getting on the scoresheet thanks to goals from Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu.
Newcastle started the game well and grabbed a lead with just four minutes on the clock as they set the tone for this relatively comfortable stroll against Italian opponents.
A good move down the right-hand side allowed Javier Manquillo to clip in a cross for Perez who arrived at the near post and side-footed his shot beyond Nicholas in the Hellas Verona goal.
United doubled the lead on 12 minutes when Jonjo Shelvey slipped the ball down the left for Christian Atsu who squeezed home between the keeper and the post to leave the Italian side with a mountain to climb.
Chances for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Matt Ritchie followed but the Serie A side survived a couple of scares and was probably relieved by the final score.