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Lewis disappointed with Canaries draw

Written by Luke Vinton

Jamal Lewis was ultimately left disappointed as ten-man Newcastle United were held to a 1-1 draw against Norwich City at St. James' Park on Tuesday night.

The Magpies were forced to play 80 minutes of the Premier League clash with ten men following Ciaran Clark's early red card after the centre-back pulled down Canaries striker Teemu Pukki.

The hosts, however, broke the deadlock in the second-half following Callum Wilson's penalty after Federico Fernández's header struck Billy Gilmour's arm which had resulted in a lengthy VAR check but Eddie Howe's side were pegged back late on through Pukki's clinical volley.

Lewis, who was handed his first league start of the 2021/22 campaign, admitted the squad were displeased not to secure their first Premier League victory of the season but did take positives after playing at a disadvantage for the majority of the league encounter.

"Going down to ten men was never in the plan," the left-back told nufc.co.uk. "The boys reacted really well to that but we know we need to get wins on the board. We're bitterly disappointed with the result but the spirit and togetherness showed on the pitch along with the fans' support which was good to see.

"It wasn't like the red card was in the 70th or 80th minute where you can just soak up the pressure. You have to adapt and create another game plan that hasn't been accounted for. That's down to the manager, who got us into a good shape and the grit and determination from the lads showed from the front to the back.

"We were disappointed to concede, especially in the last 15 minutes but the grit and determination that the fans want to see was there."

Prior to facing Norwich, Lewis had started just one competitive game this term before facing his former club, a Carabao Cup tie against Burnley in August.

The Northern Ireland international expressed his joy in competing in front of the home supporters, the first time in a league fixture, and is determined to build on his positive display against Dean Smith's side.

"I think it's my first league start since February which has been a long time to not play competitive football for your club," the 23-year-old added. "It was great to play in front of St. James' Park on a night like this.

"I got a little taster against Burnley in the cup and I've really missed the feeling to get that energy and being spurred on by the fans. On a personal note, it was a good night for me to get my feet wet again. Hopefully, I can get a good run of games and help the team get some points to climb up the table."

Newcastle still sit in 20th place, six points adrift of the relegation zone, and host fellow relegation rivals Burnley in their upcoming Premier League fixture on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm GMT).

Lewis revealed the squad will address the key factors from Tuesday night's game as they aim to secure their first league victory since the final day of the 2020/21 season in May. 

"We know with the players we have up top, we're always going to punish teams even with ten men," the Luton-born full-back said. "I think we could have found the first two passes a bit better but with putting so much energy into defending, you can't blame the boys with tired legs we had in shifting side to side.

"Getting the goal was a big boost for the team. I thought we could have worked off that to keep a clean sheet so, as a defender, it was disappointing to not get one considering the position we're in.

"Personally, I was really happy to see the boys dig their heels in which was the bare minimum we needed to do. We have to look at where we went wrong for their goal, make it right, and get three points on Saturday."         

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