Aleksandar Mitrovic says he never considered leaving relegated Newcastle United – as he was determined to fire the club back into the Premier League.
Mitrovic netted both of the Newcastle’s goals in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Preston North End.
The striker had been handed a rare Championship start in the absence through injury of leading scorer Dwight Gayle.
And Mitrovic – who also scored twice in last week’s 6-0 EFL Cup mauling of Preston – took his chance at Deepdale.
The second-half strikes maintained United’s three-point advantage at the top of the division – and took his goal tally for the campaign to five in all competitions.
Gayle’s form has restricted the 22-year-old to just four starts – two in the league – this season.
But the Serbia international, while frustrated, knew he had to bide his time given that Rafa Benitez’s side were winning games without him.
“Of course it was difficult for me, but I was happy because we were winning games and scoring goals,” said Mitrovic.
“The only thing I could do was work hard and wait for my chance. When I got a chance, I had to try to take it. That’s all I could do.
“The manager has a lot of players and he can now choose. It’s easy for him. Our job is to score goals and to help the team stay on top of the league.”
A number of players, including Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend, left the club in the wake of last season’s relegation.
However, Mitrovic, signed from Anderlecht last year, says he never thought of leaving United, who lead the Championship by three points.
Asked if he had considered quitting Newcastle, he said: “I wanted to stay here and help the team get back into the Premier League where we deserve to be.”