Karl Darlow has challenged his Newcastle United team-mates to put their defeat to Blackburn Rovers behind them – by booking a place in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.
The club’s nine-game winning run was brought to an end by Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Getting this far in the cup means we’re going to be kept busy, and that’s fantastic for the club. We need to concentrate on that now and try to get through to the next round, then it’s Forest on Friday.Karl Darlow
A second-half strike from Charlie Mulgrew condemned Rafa Benitez’s side to a 1-0 defeat at St James’s Park.
The result saw Brighton and Hove Albion close the gap on Championship-leading Newcastle to two points.
United take on Hull City in an EFL Cup quarter-final at the KCOM Stadium tomorrow night.
The fixture is followed by a game against Darlow’s former club Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Friday night.
“It’s good to have the cup game so close,” said Darlow, signed from Forest in the summer of 2014.
“We’ve got three games this week, so we know we’ve got to brush this off pretty quickly and get on with things.
“Getting this far in the cup means we’re going to be kept busy, and that’s fantastic for the club.
“We need to concentrate on that now and try to get through to the next round, then it’s Forest on Friday.
“It’s a big week coming up, and we need to put this behind us and get on with it now.”
Newcastle manager Benitez made six changes for the Blackburn game.
Benitez, in a surprise move, left captain Jamaal Lascelles and leading scorer Dwight Gayle on the bench.
United started poorly and never found any rhythm going forward.
Mulgrew scored from a disputed corner to condemn Newcastle to their first league defeat since mid-September.
“You’re going to lose some time, but it’s still very disappointing when it happens,” said goalkeeper Darlow.
“It’s unfortunate that we’ve not played as well as we can, but we’ve definitely had a bit of an off day.
“We’ve had some good victories recently and put a good run together, so it’s disappointing not to keep that going. Hopefully, we can go on another good run now though.
“I don’t think you could criticise a lack of effort or anything like that – it was just one of those days when nothing really clicked.
“We didn’t create too many chances, which was obviously disappointing.
“There haven’t been many teams who have stopped us from scoring this season, but they managed to do that and it was too easy for them really.
“We were disappointing going forward, and defensively we gave them a bit too much at the other end.
“It was one of those games that was going to go either way by the narrowest of margins, and unfortunately it went their way.
“To lose this game, particularly at home, was very disappointing, but now we need to make sure we stay at the top of the league and carry on putting some good performances in. If we do that, we can pick up and really get going again.”
On the changes, Darlow added: “It’s hard to keep playing the same players when you’ve got so many games in a short space of time, but that’s obviously up to the manager.
“He’s the one that picks the team, and we know that we’ve got great quality in the squad and a great strength in depth.
“Whoever is out on the pitch, we have full confidence that we can put on a good performance and win football matches.
“In terms of personnel, it doesn’t really matter too much, and we know against Hull we’re going to be strong no matter what team is named.”