AYOZE PEREZ is happy to have finished the season on a goalscoring high, but the Newcastle United striker is more proud of his team’s achievements than his own successes in front of goal.

Perez’s final-day brace against Chelsea made it six goals in the final seven matches for the Spaniard, who was the only Newcastle player to finish the season with a double-figure tally in all competitions.

Prior to the start of the campaign, plenty of observers were questioning the 24-year-old’s ability to score in the top-flight, but despite not playing as an out-and-out striker, he ended the season with more goals to his name than either Dwight Gayle or Joselu.

Having struggled to establish himself during Newcastle’s previous spell in the top-flight, Perez is understandably satisfied with his performances over the last nine months.

However, he takes most pride from the Magpies’ top-half finish, and the fact that safety was secured with five games still to play.

“I’m so happy to be able to end the season scoring lots of goals,” said Perez, who has been touted as a potential Spain international thanks to his performances in the last couple of months. “Two goals against Chelsea, another two at St James’ Park, and ten is a great number for me.

“But, if I’m honest, what I am most pleased about is that we finished in tenth place because we deserved to finish there at the end of the season.

“It has been an amazing season for the team. We have to be proud of ourselves because we have done a great job all year. The city has to be proud of the team, and we also have to be proud of ourselves.”

At the end of last year, it looked as though Newcastle were in serious trouble in the bottom half of the table.

December’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal left the Magpies floundering in 18th position, and there was an eight-game spell between October and February when they failed to win at home.

From the outside, it looked as though the squad was struggling for confidence and form, but internally, Perez insists their belief never wavered.

“We’ve had ups and downs during the whole season, but I want to give lots of credit to the team,” he said. “We stuck together when we had to and we achieved our main target.

“After that, we managed to keep such a great position for Newcastle this season and that's why we can celebrate this summer.”