JONAS Gutierrez saw Newcastle United lose his close friend Jose Enrique on the eve of this evening’s Premier League opener against Arsenal. (ESPN 5.30PM)
But the winger’s still confident the club can gain three points.
Enrique yesterday completed his £6m move to Anfield, leaving Alan Pardew without a senior left-back for the visit of Arsene Wenger’s side.
And pre-season optimism is in short supply on Tyneside ahead of the new campaign.
However, Gutierrez – who, along with captain Fabricio Coloccini, was closest to Enrique – isn’t looking for excuses ahead of the Arsenal game.
“It’s a big game, and it’s going to be a hard game, but we always have to think of what we can do,” Gutierrez told SportMail. “We don’t have to think about the team we’re going to play.
“The most important thing is that Newcastle do the right things.
“We have to do things in the best way. If we do the right things 100 per cent over the 90 minutes, we don’t have to care about the other team.
“If you don’t do the right things, they have big players who can score at any time.
“The most important thing is to concentrate for the 90 minutes.
“We have Yohan (Cabaye), Demba (Ba) and Sylvain (Marveaux). We have missed training together because we had players who couldn’t go to America. Jose went, and we haven’t trained too much together.
“But the team spirit is good. The only problem is that we haven’t trained together as full team or squad too much, but these things happen, and we have to be prepared.”
The versatile Ryan Taylor could be asked to fill in at left-back against Arsenal, but Gutierrez – who has played at full-back for Argentina – is willing to help out until a replacement arrives.
“I’ve played different positions in the three years I’ve been here,” said the 28-year-old. “If the manager asks, I will do it for the team.
“It’s not my best position, that is a midfielder, but if the team needs me there, I don’t have a problem.”
Enrique signed yesterday and was hoping to make his debut against Sunderland at Anfield this afternoon.
“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said the Spaniard. “I have come to one of the biggest clubs, not just in England, but in the world.