Newcastle United may have lost to Manchester United last night but there was one huge positive for the club to emerge from the game.
Jonas Gutierrez returned to competitive action for the first team, coming off the bench to get stuck in and take the captaincy after winning his fight against testicular cancer, which threatened to end his career.
The midfielder was understandably emotional as he entered the field of play, but he showed professionalism and quickly got down to business for the Magpies, attempting to put pressure on United all over the pitch.
In terms of his performance, he did okay and will get sharper as he plays more games for the side over the rest of the season. He commanded a presence last night because of the ovation he received and the circumstances surrounding his return.
He played sensibly and wasn’t shy of getting stuck into the physical fight against some very talented Manchester United players who were performing well out wide and just inside the channels last night.
He could be relieved that the emotion relating to his comeback has now been released, which will allow him to focus on forcing his way back into the starting line-up for John Carver’s side, which is his challenge for the rest of the campaign.
The manager’s job is to keep him motivated ahead of the next game and to watch him closely in training to ensure that he improves physically and is looking right on the pace of things, for when he does want to start him again.
Gutierrez will be the first to admit that he’s disappointed the Magpies didn’t get anything from the game last night and he should lead by example, as they look to put things right.
Here’s what Newcastle fans on Twitter made of his return and performance last night.
Amazing to see Gutierrez making an appearance tonight 11 months after being diagnosed with cancer! #NUFC— Greg Beard (@GregggyB) March 5, 2015
It says quite a lot about the world we live in when Newcastle player Cisse is trending and Gutierrez isn't. #NUFC— Karl Sharp (@01sharpka) March 5, 2015
Lovely to see Jonas Gutierrez back on the field tonight. Inspirational. #nufc— Miles Starforth (@milesstarforth) March 5, 2015
Welcome back Jonas Gutierrez, now you're a life champion, let's be a football champions, COME ON @NUFC— Daniel García (@DanielGarcia961) March 5, 2015