Christian Atsu urges perspective be applied to Newcastle's Championship situation after Fulham loss
Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu believes perspective must be applied to the Magpies' position, despite the disappointment of defeat to Fulham.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men completed a Championship double over United on Saturday with a convincing win at St James’s Park.
That result, coupled with Huddersfield’s win at Brentford, meant the gap between United and the second tier play-off places is now just six points, having been 11 just nine days ago.
But Rafa Benitez & Co remain in top spot, albeit on just goal difference from Brighton, and Atsu says that fact alone means there is no need to panic on Tyneside just yet.
“We have to keep this in perspective,” said the Ghanaian international.
“The position we find ourselves in, we’re still ahead of the others and we have to keep working hard.”
With time to reflect on the encounter it certainly feels like a lot of the hard work of the three results previous has been undone against the Cottagers.
Wins over Brighton, the Terriers and a battle draw at Reading had put United in the second tier driving seat, laying down a marker to those looking to muscle in on the Magpies party at the Championship summit.
The complexion of the division is rather different today.
And it could well be again on Friday, with David Wagner’s side having the opportunity to draw first blood and cut the gap to just three with a win at Bristol City on Friday evening.
But Atsu is not in any mood to worry, he believes United can take strength from their away form and look to bounce back in style when they travel to Birmingham next weekend.
When asked whether United have let themselves down, the Chelsea loanee replied: “Yes in a way.
“But we’ve been unlucky in a lot of home games, that’s one of the reasons why our away form is better than our home form.
“That’s football but we need to make things right.
“We can’t start thinking of it as home games and away games, we just have to focus on each game at a time.”
The only way United will bounce back, like they have on so many occasions this campaign, is if the players, staff and fans stick together, according to Atsu.
“It’s up to us to make things right, we’re still top of the league and it’s time to stick together,” he said.
“We need the fans, we need everyone.
“We have nine games left. A lot of teams will lose concentration.
“We have to make sure we don’t lose our concentration.
“It’s about being together everyone the fans and the players.”
Whatever the reason, Benetez’s men’s home form is a concern.
Having lost eight games this season so far, five of those have come at St James’s.
Atsu says the form on home turf is worrying, but he thinks United can easily put the pain of defeat behind them with a performance at St Andrews.
“We have to put this behind us,” said Atsu.
“It was difficult for the team, our pressing wasn’t good enough, we didn’t press together.
“We lost the game too easily and it’s a very disappointing result for us.
“But we have to put it out of our minds and focus on the next game. This is all we can do.
“Against Fulham we didn’t go forward as a team.
“We didn’t play well from the start and they were able to play through us which was disappointing.
“They took their chances well in the game and that’s why they won.
“We have to stay concentrated, though.
“We’re not just playing one game, we need to focus on the next ones coming up. Every game, home or away, matters.
“This game is behind us.”