Jamaal Lascelles tells Newcastle’s Ciaran Clark to carry on shooting from the lip

Ciaran Clark

Ciaran Clark

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Jamaal Lascelles says Newcastle United’s defence is shout of this world.

The Championship-leading club has the second-best defensive record in the league.

I think we work well off each other. Ciaran’s played in the game a long time and reads the game really well.

Jamaal Lascelles

Only Brighton and Hove Albion have conceded fewer goals than Rafa Benitez’s side, who lead them by a point.

Ciaran Clark has been a fixture alongside since September. Clark, signed from Aston Villa in the summer, has been outstanding in the heart of Benitez’s back four, and United captain Lascelles believes they complement each other.

“I think we work well off each other,” said Lascelles.

“Ciaran’s played in the game a long time and reads the game really well.”

Newcastle’s defensive record has improved immeasurably under Benitez.

Lascelles feels the communication between goalkeeper Karl Darlow and the players in front of him has helped.

“He’s very vocal and helps me out a lot talking and organising from the back,” said Lascelles.

“Me and him are so loud for the team. I think it’s so important.”

Lascelles believes Benitez’s side, which beat Burton Albion 2-1 at the weekend to claim the Christmas No 1 spot, has “balance”.

The 23-year-old added: “Then we’ve got Vurnon (Anita) who can defend down one end and set up a goal down the other.

“Throughout the team, we’ve got a great balance. The thing is, we’ve got players on the bench who can play as well.

“Whatever decision the manager goes for is obviously the right decision. The boys are doing well.”