Krul focused on Everton – not Europe

FEET ON THE GROUND ... goalkeeper Tim Krul isn't getting carried away.
FEET ON THE GROUND ... goalkeeper Tim Krul isn't getting carried away.

TIM Krul would love to return to European competition with Newcastle United – but the goalkeeper is refusing to look beyond Everton’s visit to St James’s Park.

The 23-year-old made his first senior appearance for the club in a UEFA Cup fixture away to Palermo exactly five years ago.

Krul – who helped Alan Pardew’s side to a 3-1 win over Stoke City on Monday night – kept a clean sheet at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in what was United’s last campaign on the continent.

The Stoke win moved Newcastle up to third in the Premier League, and a victory over Everton in Saturday’s early kick-off will propel them into second place ahead of Manchester United, who play Sunderland later in the afternoon. And supporters are already talking about a top-six finish being a realistic aim for the team.

However, Krul insists he and his colleagues, for the moment, are focused on shorter-term goals.

“It’s really special, and we’re third in the league – what else can you say?” Krul told the Gazette.

“The manager said judge us after 10 games, and look where we are now. We’ve got Everton on Saturday, and then a little break again.

“We’ll recharge our batteries for the games after that. We’ve got targets every six games, and we’re reaching our targets. It’s special.”

Asked about unbeaten United’s chances of qualifying for Europe, Krul added: “We’re not looking at that yet – we have to be careful.

“We have those six-game targets every time, and as long as we reach them, we’ll be up there.”

Krul was handed his chance against Palermo with Shay Given and Steve Harper injured, and the Holland international rewarded then-manager Glenn Roeder with an outstanding performance between the posts in a 1-0 victory.

“It’s five years ago – that’s a long time,” reflected Krul. “A lot of things have happened, and look where we are now.

Talk of the Toon Tim Krul focus

“It was my debut in Sicily. It was a special night, and it was another special night coming to Stoke and getting three points.

“I came here at 17 as a young boy, and there was a line set out for me. You never know if all the targets are going to be reached.

“I’ve always said you have to be patient, and if I played my cup games, I’ll be ready. I’m ready now, and I’ve got to keep fighting, and keep working hard. Long may it continue.”

Krul feels the performance at the Britannia Stadium, where summer signing Demba Ba scored his second hat-trick for the club, was every bit as special as that in Sicily.

{ Stoke match report|Stoke match report}

In a first-half which saw Ba net twice, Pardew’s side ably defended Stoke’s set-pieces and repeatedly hit them on the break.

And they were resilient after the interval, when Mike Dean awarded each side a penalty.

“What a performance – it was incredible,” said Krul. “It was really important to go 2-0 up. It gave us a little bit of a breather. What a night!

“Demba and Bestie (Leon Best) worked their socks off, and we were a solid unit again. They threatened us with their set-pieces, but other than that, not much else.

“We knew our plan. The manager said as well that we shouldn’t focus too much on it as we just have to deal with it, and defend it.

“All the lads who came this summer have gelled.”