Brighton and Hove Albion defender makes ‘amazing’ Newcastle United claim
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Brighton and Hove Albion defender Joel Veltman believes Newcastle United are an “amazing side” despite losing 3-1 on the South Coast. Eddie Howe’s men suffered a third successive Premier League defeat following a hat-trick from 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson.
The Republic of Ireland international opened the scoring in the first half when he capitalised on a mistake from Nick Pope. Ferguson then beat the Magpies goalkeeper from distance in the 65th minute before adding his third shortly after via a shot that deflected in off Fabian Schar.
A late Callum Wilson goal during stoppage time denied Veltman and his teammates a first clean sheet of the campaign, but the Dutchman hailed the victory against United.
“Obviously they have lots of quality to create chances, but we played to our strengths,” Veltman said. “We had 1 vs 1s with our strikers Joao and Evan opening up the game, creating spaces behind their defenders.
“We showed a great fighting spirit as well against such a strong, physical team like Newcastle. They’re an amazing side, but we didn’t give up. We won our 50-50 duels and from then on we could play our game.”
While Ferguson rightly stole the headlines, Veltman was keen to set aside praise for the Irishman’s strike partner Joao Pedro. Newcastle targetted the Brazilian last summer before he agreed a £30million move to the Seagulls from Watford in April.
Veltman added: “I think Joao was a bit underrated in the game, but he did some incredible things for us, holding up the ball, keeping [Fabian] Schar behind him, and from then on we could create chances. He didn’t score three goals (like Ferguson) but he was amazing.
“He [Ferguson] can score with his head, he can score with his right foot and his left. He’s still young and iyet he can score a hat-trick against a strong team like Newcastle - we are happy for him.