Clark Takes The Positive From Villa Point
Written by Newcastle Utd
Ciaran Clark says enjoyed his return to Aston Villa - but admitted that Newcastle were up against it in the second half
By Tom Easterby - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Man of the match Ciaran Clark says he enjoyed his return to Aston Villa on Saturday - but admitted that Newcastle United were up against it in the second half at Villa Park.
A late Aaron Tshibola header earned Roberto Di Matteo's side a point, after Tommy Elphick's first half own goal had given the Magpies the lead at the break.
Former Villa centre back Clark and the rest of the United team had to dig in after the hour as the hosts began to dominate, eventually levelling the scores with four minutes remaining.
But the Republic of Ireland international said that while his side's second half performance didn't match the dominance of their display in the first, taking a point away from a tricky-looking away fixture is no bad thing.
"Obviously I was excited coming in before the game. It's a game I wanted to do well in, both myself and the team," Clark told BBC Newcastle. "I felt we started off the better side and controlled the game in the first half, but in the second half I think we got a bit sloppy and they punished us for it.
"In the first half we controlled the possession and we controlled the tempo of the game, but in the second half they did have a lot more of the ball. But still we had a couple of breakaways, a couple of counter attacks which we didn't really punish.
"It was one of those games in the second half - I don't think we played as well as we did in the first half, and fair play to Villa - they came back and managed to get the equaliser.
"It's still a point on the board and we can use that, and take the confidence gained from that and hopefully do well in the next game."
The 26-year-old, who spent seven years as a first team player at Villa Park before his summer switch to Tyneside, added: "The crowd got a lot louder in the last 20 minutes, and big Rudy Gestede came on, and we know how much of a threat he is, especially when the ball's out wide. He's such a physical guy, and great in the air.
"That did cause us a few problems, and I think we're disappointed with how late it was, and how we managed to hold out for so long and then concede.
"But we'll take this result, we'll take the point and we'll go again next game."
Next up for Rafa Benitez's men is another Sky Bet Championship clash with the division's pace-setters Norwich City at St. James' Park on Wednesday night.
And Clark said United will not be too disheartened by the point they picked up on their travels at the weekend, instead insisting that it's a result that could prove to be vital in the long run.
"We've been on a god little run and have won a few games, and I think these points are important," he said. "They all add up and come the end of the season, it might be the draws, the points on the board that make a difference.
"(When you're) hanging on for the last 20, 25 minutes of game, if you stay strong, hold out and grind out a point, that might make a difference come the end of the season.
"We're disappointed with the way we feel like we've dropped a couple of points, but a point's nothing to frown at."