Newcastle defender sees reasons for hope, delivers unexpected message

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Ciaran Clark does not feel it is all doom and gloom at Newcastle and hopes the international break can act as a catalyst for an upturn in fortunes.

The Magpies were beaten 3-0 by fellow strugglers Brighton on Saturday. It was a woeful display by the men from the north east.

And much of the media felt it would signal the death knell for Steve Bruce’s time in the St James’ Park dugout.

However, much to the amazement of all concerned, owner Mike Ashley has backed the beleaguered manager to continue.

The Amex Stadium result left Newcastle just two points above the relegation zone. They are 17th, with Fulham snapping at their heels and tipped to pull themselves out of the bottom three.

Bruce’s side have won just two Premier League games in 2021. But they did manage to put together a sequence of three draws prior to the Seagulls reverse.

And Clark is adamant that the anxiety among those connected with the club is not shared by the players.

“Three games before, we had three draws and we could have won two of those games,” he said. “We’ve been pretty confident and we have been for the last couple of weeks.”

But the Republic of Ireland stopper did confess that there was an inexplicable malaise ahead of the Brighton debacle.

“On Saturday night, we weren’t up for it as a group of players. For some reason, it didn’t work for us,” he added. “That was the most disappointing thing, the way we were playing the weeks beforehand, we didn’t take into the game, such a big game as well.”

Clark sees break as time to reset

The Premier League is now on a two-week break as international football takes centre stage. Ireland face Serbia on Wednesday before taking on Luxembourg on Saturday.

They conclude their games by facing Qatar on Tuesday, March 30. There will be a few Magpies players on international duty and Bruce will be praying they return unscathed.

And Clark sees it as an opportunity for the squad to mend both physically and mentally for the vital run-in.

“The international break has probably come at a good time for us now. We’ve time to get some injured players back,” he continued. “Hopefully, we can see out remaining games with a fully-fit squad, probably bar Isaac Hayden, who picked up a nasty injury.”

 

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