Cleverley meant super strike
Tom Cleverley insists he meant his first Barclays Premier League goal for the club – an incredible shot from the left flank that found the top corner of Steve Harper’s net.
The midfielder broke his duck at senior level for the Reds against the Magpies in the recent Capital One Cup tie and followed it up with the strike that wrapped up the three points on a memorable afternoon in the North East.
When asked if it was his intention to go for goal, he replied: “Yeah, I meant to put it in that far corner. I looked to the far corner and, whether it’s a good cross or obviously a good finish, luckily it’s found the net.
“The ball’s come back and I’ve seen the goalkeeper a little bit off his line so I’ve hit that area. Whether Welbz [Danny Welbeck] gets across and puts his head on it or the ball goes straight in, so I’d say it’s a good finish.”
Sir Alex Ferguson disagreed, joking: “I think it was a cross but he says it was a shot!”
Cleverley, who heads off on England duty for the World Cup double-header against San Marino and Poland, was quick to pay tribute to the defenders for their part in the 3-0 success.
“We all knew it was going to be a tough game,” he conceded. “Starting like we did was fantastic for us – not just the goals but we were playing really well. I think it took them 20 minutes to cope with us and we were 2-0 up by then and in control. We hit them on the counter-attack times and I thought we really controlled the second half.
“Away from home, any clean sheet is massive. Despite all the balls Newcastle put into the box, the back four and keeper were fantastic and fully deserved the clean sheet.
“We know we’ve got goals in the team and we’ve got players who can assist goals from everywhere. Welbz and Wazza [Wayne Rooney] were two of our main goalscorers last season and they’ve not scored yet so, when everyone clicks, I’m sure we can go on a run.”
Cleverley felt the diamond formation worked well again and is hopeful he can continue to find the net after getting off the mark for the Reds this season.
“We played it [the new formation] against Newcastle in the Cup and Cluj and have won all three games,” he explained. “It’s a good system and something else we can use against teams. We’ve got plenty of plan Bs and plan Cs.
“My two goals have both come against Newcastle but, in general, I think I’m gettnig into goalscoring positions now. At the start of the season, it just wasn’t going in. I had one cleared off the line at Everton and for England so, fortunately, I’m finding the back of the net now and hopefully I can go on a run.
“We said last time [there was an international break] when we managed to win at Southampton that it would’ve been horrible having no game for two weeks and having a defeat. With all our main competitors winning, we really had to get the three points and thankfully we did.”