Ciaran Clark: Newcastle should not be disheartened by poor start to the season

Ciaran Clark has told his Newcastle team-mates to keep their chins up as they attempt to drag themselves out of a desperately difficult start to the season.

The Magpies have taken only one point from a possible 15 in their opening five Premier League games.

That, coupled with a Carabao Cup defeat by Sky Bet Championship Nottingham Forest, has left fans already in mutinous rebellion against owner Mike Ashley, fearing the worst.

However, the fixture list has pitched Rafael Benitez’s men into battle with four of last season’s top six already, and they have succumbed by the odd goal to Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and now Arsenal.

Defender Clark, who scored in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by the Gunners, told NUFC TV: “At the end of the day, we are obviously not picking up any points and that’s the most frustrating thing because all we want to do is win games and pick up points no matter who we are playing.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming into the first set of fixtures and we have just been pure unlucky.

“In every game, we could have taken at least a point out of the game, so we have got to keep our chins up, keep going and get back to training on Monday and start again.”

The Magpies head for Crystal Palace next weekend before Leicester make the trip to St James’ Park, and Clark is hoping for better fortunes.

He said: “We have played four of the big sides, really big teams with great players, so we’re not going to dwell on that, really.

“We just know we have got games coming up now that we can win.”

Benitez’s men enjoyed the better of the first half against the Gunners, who were disjointed as they attempted to avenge for their defeat on Tyneside last season.

However, with Lucas Torreira having been introduced as a half-time substitute, they found a better rhythm and took the lead courtesy of Granit Xhaka’s fine 49th-minute free-kick.

Mesut Ozil doubled the visitors’ advantage within nine minutes with Newcastle in disarray and although substitute Clark reduced the deficit with a stoppage-time header, there was no way back.

Clark said: “Coming out for the second half and it was probably a sloppy 15, 20 minutes there and before you know it against a top side, we were 2-0 down. They made us pay for that.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery was delighted to see his side win back-to-back away games in the league for the first time since May 2017, but insisted that was just a start.

He said: “The challenge is to have better and better performances, to be more competitive and to have a lot of chances to win.

“We are happy with the two away victories, but we need to continue because we need to improve and be more competitive.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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