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We Must Be Mentally Strong, Says Atsu

Written by Newcastle Utd

Christian Atsu admitted his home debut was a bittersweet experience as the Magpies were beaten 2-0 by Wolves

By Tom Easterby - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Christian Atsu made his home debut for Newcastle United on Saturday - but admitted it was a bittersweet experience as the Magpies were beaten 2-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Ghanaian international, who is on loan from Chelsea, was introduced as a second half substitute alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic after an own goal from Chancel Mbemba and a Helder Costa goal after the break had put the visitors in front.

It was the first time the 24-year-old had played at St. James' Park, having made his bow for the club in the 6-0 win at Queens Park Rangers in midweek.

And Atsu said that while he was happy to make his home debut for his new club in front of their "fantastic" support, he and his team must show their mental resilience as attentions turn to their next outing - Tuesday night's EFL Cup clash against the same opponents.

"I made my debut but we lost the game, and we were fighting to win in front of our fans, but we have to be mentally strong," he told nufc.co.uk.

"It was great to make my home debut, they are fantastic fans and I'm happy I made my home debut, but right now we have to focus on the next game, which is what is important now.

"It's good to play in front of our fans. It's unfortunate that we lost today's game, but the next game is coming and we want to make them happy.

"Everyone is down after the game, but the manager spoke with us and we have to have the mentality to win the next game, which is important. We learn from our mistakes, and we have to give our best for the fans because they deserve it.

"This is football, and this is what the Championship is about. Each and every day you have to focus and work so hard, because if you lose concentration, you pay for it."

Walter Zenga's men return to Tyneside on Tuesday looking for a repeat of their win over Newcastle this weekend.

But Atsu, who says his side must be "mentally strong" if they're to recover by progressing on Tuesday night, has warned that United will be out to bounce back quickly in midweek as Rafa Benitez's side seek a place in the fourth round.

"This is where we need the players to be mentally strong. When you play for a big club like Newcastle, these kind of situations will come your way, but that's why we are here - to deal with it. We are all focussed on the next game," he said.

"Cup games are not like the league that we are playing in. If you don't score, you're going out, so it's very important that we win. It's a must-win game. We want to stay in the cup.

"To beat someone two times (in four days) is difficult, but we will learn from our mistakes. We are going to play against them on Tuesday and it's another chance for us to prove, on the pitch in front of our fans, that we can win.

"You cannot deal with the past, you cannot change the past. Right now, we have to focus on the next game. We can make a better future, which is more important."

On settling in to life with the Magpies, Atsu added: "I'm really happy at the club. Now it's for me to do my job. I'm happy that I played at St. James' Park and I'm hoping and looking forward to the next game."

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