Ciaran Clark reveals the mindset of Newcastle's players after a difficult summer
Newcastle United's players have their 'heads screwed on' ahead of a tough run of Premier League games.
That’s the view of Ciaran Clark ahead of Sunday’s home game against Chelsea.
Rafa Benitez has been left frustrated by a lack of summer investment in his squad, while the players were involved in a dispute over bonuses.
Clark, however, says the team, which drew 0-0 against Cardiff City on Saturday, are now fully focused on on-the-field matters.
“Once the window shuts, that’s it,” said the defender,” said the defender.
“I think everyone’s got their heads screwed on and everyone knows this is the squad.
“It probably gives everyone a bit more focus and takes everyone’s minds off everything else. It’s full focus on the football side of things.
“We’ve done that. We were unlucky in our first game (against Tottenham Hotspur). I felt we did enough to take at least a point and we could have come away with three (from Cardiff). We’ll take the positives and keep working hard.”
Newcastle’s team spirit saw them through a difficult first season back in the Premier League.
Benitez guided the team to a 10th-placed finish, and Clark believes the togetherness was again on show at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“We’ve got a great team spirit and great attitude within the whole squad,” said Clark.
“I think that showed when we went down to 10 men. We kept going, we kept fighting. It could’ve swung our way in the end, and we were a bit unlucky that it didn’t. That’s one thing we’ll always have, that good attitude and commitment no matter who’s playing. That’s what helped us through and ultimately got us to where we finished last season. We need to try and keep that.”
Newcastle – who had Isaac Hayden sent off and had a late Kenedy penalty saved – were expecting a physical game against newly-promoted Cardiff.
“I think we knew the type of game it would be – it was always going to be a fight – there was going to be a lot of hard work, and both teams put that in,” said Clark.
“I can’t remember there being too many chances. Obviously, the sending off came, and you’re down to 10 men. It was always going to be a tough one. We managed to keep going and keep fighting. We got the penalty at the end, and it’s one of those things, people can miss them.
“We came away with a point. We’re disappointed, but it’s a point at the end of the day.
“Even with 10 men, I can’t remember there being too many chances for them. We didn’t see as much of the ball as we’d have liked. We always knew it was going to be that type of game. It was always going to be a fight.”