Ciaran Clark reacts to a his unexpected turn as Newcastle captain '“ and his goal
Ciaran Clark told of his pride after leading Newcastle United to a hard-fought point at The Hawthorns.
Clark scored as Rafa Benitez’s side came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against West Bromwich Albion.
The result ended a run of four successive Premier League defeats.
Clark wore the skipper’s armband with club captain Jamaal Lascelles injured and Jonjo Shelvey on the bench.
“It was obviously great to get a goal and be captain of the side,” said the defender, who headed a Matt Ritchie corner past Ben Foster to halve the deficit.
“Jamaal’s out injured, but hopefully he can get back as soon as possible. It was great for me to captain the team and get the goal, but, at this stage, we don’t care who scores.
“We’ll take goals from anyone, and it’s obviously nice to chip in.”
Clark and his team-mates had been under pressure to end their losing run.
“We knew we had to get something out of the game,” said Clark, who could again skipper Newcastle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Lascelles not expected to be fit.
“We made it very difficult for ourselves, but the strength of character that we showed was massive. We’ll take real positivity and encouragement from that.
“We have to learn from our mistakes, but we could have gone on and won the game.
“I felt that if the game had gone on another ten or 15 minutes, we would have gone on and got the win. We’re pleased with that, we’ll take that, and we’ll get ready for Saturday.
United were backed by 2,600 fans at The Hawthorns.
“The fans have always stuck by us,” said Clark.
“That was a tough spell we’d gone through, and, before the game, we knew we had to get something out of it.
“Even when we were 2-0 down, the fans were singing and really egging us on.
“It was great for us to be able to get the two goals in front of them and get the point at the end of the night.”
Newcastle have a tough run of games next month, including away games against Arsenal and West Ham United and a home fixture against Manchester City.
“We know it’s going to be tough with the games we have coming up,” added Clark.
“Every game in this league is very difficult, but we have to take some encouragement from the game in the week and be positive going into the next run of fixtures.
“We’ll get ready for the game on Saturday, which is going to be a very tough one.
“Last season was great, and we’ve carried some of that momentum and togetherness with us into the Premier League.
“We managed to come straight back up and win the league, and although we knew it was going to be very tough coming into the Premier League, we’ve got a good group together who are enjoying the challenge.
“We’ve got a great unity there, and a great squad with some really big characters. That was important in the Championship, and it’s important again for us this season. We’ll fight, and we’ll keep going no matter what the situation is. We’ll never give up, and I think we showed that.
“We started so well, and took great belief out of that, but we knew there would come a time when things got more difficult.
“Form does dip a little bit, but we just have to try to work through that and keep doing what we’ve been doing.
“We’ve tried to get back to basics a bit, and I think we did that, especially in the second half.”