LONDON: Goals on their Newcastle United debuts by striker Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick gave their side a comfortable 2-0 away win over West Ham United in their Premier League opening-day clash on Saturday.
West Ham hit the woodwork twice during a goalless first half but Wilson, Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey also went close for the visitors before the break.
Signed on Monday for a reported 20 million pounds ($25.59 million) from Bournemouth, Wilson pounced on Hendrick’s clever flick-on from Javier Manquillo’s cross to put Newcastle ahead in the 56th minute.
Manquillo almost set up Wilson for a second in the 75th minute but this time the 28-year-old forward couldn’t quite get on the end of the low cross and the ball was cleared.
Instead it was Hendrick, who joined on a free transfer from Burnley in August, who wrapped up the three points for Newcastle as he received the ball from Miguel Almiron and rattled home a shot three minutes before the end of normal time.
“From day one, the lads have made me feel welcome and I was just raring to get going,” a delighted Hendrick said.
“You see in training the squad that is here. The strikers can all score and all bring different qualities to the team. We had to dig deep and work hard for it,” he added.
Wilson was equally pleased to get off the mark.
“I’m thankful for the goal, but first and foremost it was a great team performance, solid at the back, and that’s what gave us that platform to go and express ourselves in the final third,” he said.
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who has been linked to a move to London rivals Chelsea, was highly critical of his side’s performance, saying it harked back to last season’s struggle against relegation.
“I don’t think we could have played any worse to be honest. We were poor as a team and individually,” he said.
“There is no time to play poor in the Premier League. We had a dip last year and found ourselves in the deep end and it was not enjoyable.”
West Ham manager David Moyes will have plenty to think about before they travel to Arsenal next Saturday, while Newcastle host Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.