We have to re-focus quickly - Clark
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Ciaran Clark was quick to turn his attention towards Monday’s Premier League clash at Stoke City after Newcastle United’s disappointing 0-0 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion at St. James’ Park.
Though they perhaps had the best chance of the game through Dwight Gayle, the Magpies struggled to assert themselves in the final third, and registered just two shots on target over the course of the 90 minutes.
United’s next opponents were beaten 5-0 at Chelsea on Saturday and sit just a point and a place better off in the table, and after an underwhelming outcome on their own turf, Clark has called for the Magpies to re-focus quickly ahead of their trip to the bet365 Stadium.
“We knew coming into these games – Brighton, Stoke and then Swansea in the league – that they were big. These are the sorts of games that will ultimately affect where we finish towards the end of the season, so we need to make sure we try to pick up points against the teams in and around us and make sure we’re in front of them,” he told nufc.co.uk.
“It’s very tight – one or two wins and you pull yourself away from it. Every game is important and we know that Stoke on Monday is a massive game. They’re under a lot of pressure themselves and they’ll be wanting to pick up points.
“We’re disappointed not to come off the pitch with three points today, but at the end of it it’s a point and a clean sheet, so we’ll move on from that and hopefully use the positives out of it to get the win on Monday.”
Clark acknowledged that the Magpies looked at their most threatening in the minutes immediately after the break, and took a moment to praise returning goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who came in for the injured Rob Elliot between the sticks.
“(After half time) we had them penned back in their half, we were picking up the second balls and it was like attack after attack. We had a couple of chances but never really found that clear chance to cut them open and finish them off, which is obviously disappointing,” he said.
“We knew before the game that they were a dangerous side from set-pieces. They’ve got a big team and it’s not just the first ball – it’s the headers coming back in across the box. We had to be alive for the second balls and Karl had to make some great saves today – comfortable ones, but he held on to them well and it relieved a lot of pressure off us.
“It was a good performance in the fact that we kept a clean sheet, but we have to move on now, rest up and get ready for Monday.”
"It’s very tight – one or two wins and you pull yourself away from it. Every game is important and we know that Stoke on Monday is a massive game. They’re under a lot of pressure themselves and they’ll be wanting to pick up points."