Graeme Jones talked up the finishing of Callum Wilson after he struck to earn Newcastle a point at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Magpies number nine produced a sensational overhead kick with his back to goal in the 65th minute to earn a share of the spoils in the capital after Christian Benteke had opened the scoring nine minutes earlier in the half.
It saw Newcastle earn a first point since Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium completed its takeover of the club and ensured Jones’ debut in the dugout – after Steve Bruce was sacked on Wednesday – ended in a 1-1 draw.
The 51-year-old said: “With Cal he is a unique striker. In training he is a good finisher, he works and is a fantastic professional but on matchday there is a stimulation that comes out of him that he has the mentality to perform for Newcastle United.
“He is the best matchday finisher I have worked with and that is not even half a chance and it’s in the back of the net which tells you everyone about Callum Wilson.”
While the North East club left London with a point, it was a ninth Premier League game of the season without a win and they remain in the relegation zone.
Jones went with five at the back at Selhurst Park and insisted it was important they went back to basics.
“We came here to win. That was the intention. We didn’t so the next best thing is a point,” the Gateshead-born interim boss added.
“Off the ball I was pleased with the organisation and understanding of the runs. I think we limited Palace to one chance in the first half and in the second half they have had two. It is a base for us to start.
“I would like for us to be better on the ball but that doesn’t come overnight. It takes time and we’ve concentrated on trying to shore up a little bit and not concede as many goals. I think that worked.”
Newcastle only had 25 per cent possession and could have lost had Benteke’s 87th-minute header not been ruled out for a foul by Marc Guehi in the penalty area while the Belgian also hit both a post and the crossbar in addition to firing wide when one on one.
Jones admitted: “We have to improve, we have to be better but I have to give the lads credit mentally and physically. Tactically we were excellent today, especially with defensive aspect of the game. As I have said… lots of work to do, loads of work to do… but it is somewhere to start.”
After a sixth draw out of nine matches, Palace boss Patrick Vieira admitted they must turn their dominance into victories soon.
“It was of course frustrating because we did enough to take those three points,” he said.
“We have to work on a lot of aspects of the game because obviously we don’t win enough games but on the other side when you look at how we defended set-pieces today it was much better than previously.
“The goal that we concede, in the first contact you are looking at the ball bouncing back to the Newcastle player and it was a fantastic goal. Nothing I can be frustrated about.”
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