Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino has told the Shields Gazette that he isn't paying attention to criticism from pundit Graeme Souness, and admitted that he enjoyed the win over West Ham United.
After Premier League defeats to Tottenham and Huddersfield, and a Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest, Newcastle were under huge pressure to claim their first win of the season when they took on West Ham United on Saturday afternoon.
Rafael Benitez will have been delighted with his side, as Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic found the net to hand the Magpies a 3-0 victory over the Hammers, with the Magpies finally off the mark in the Premier League.
A number of players impressed in the win at St. James' Park, but fans were particularly impressed with the performance of midfielder Mikel Merino, who controlled the game in front of the back four.
Spanish youngster Merino, 21, joined Newcastle on a season-long loan deal from Borussia Dortmund late last month, and he is looking to impress having struggled for first-team football in Germany last season.
However, Merino was slammed for his part in Newcastle's defeat at Huddersfield, with pundit and ex-Newcastle manager Graeme Souness singling him out for personal criticism, accusing him of not wanting to get hurt by the ball in the build-up to Aaron Mooy's winning goal, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Merino bounced back with a controlling display against West Ham, leaving many fans to wonder just how the suspended Jonjo Shelvey will get back into the team - and Merino has commented on just how much he enjoyed Saturday's win.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette, Merino admitted that he enjoyed the West Ham game 'a lot' as it was important to win at home, and he believes more wins will come in the near future - but noted that he isn't paying any attention to personal criticism from Souness.
“I enjoyed this match a lot,” said Merino. “It was very important to get that first victory after two losses to begin with. “It was important to win in front of our people. The main thing is we played as a team, we played together, and the things we are doing are in the right way so we have to keep playing, keep pushing and the wins will come."
“I heard something, but I don’t really give importance to it," he added when asked about the comments from Souness.