Rob Elliot reveals how Newcastle's dressing room is tackling the club's Premier League slump

Rob Elliot says Newcastle United must start making their own luck '“ after dropping into the relegation zone.

Sunday, 17th December 2017, 9:29 pm
Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot during the game against Arsenal.

Rafa Benitez’s side are 18th in the Premier League after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Newcastle have lost eight out of their last nine games.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (centre) celebrates his winner.

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United, however, put in a spirited performance and stayed in the game against Arsenal, who claimed all three points thanks to a stunning first-half volley from Mesut Ozil.

Newcastle return to action against West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Asked about the club’s league position, goalkeeper Elliot said: “We’re there because we have lost the last eight out of nine, so you can’t say ‘oh, we’ve been unlucky’.

“We need to make sure that going forward we address it and we make sure we are putting in performances like we did at Arsenal.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (centre) celebrates his winner.

“When we play the teams around us, the attitude and the way we played against Arsenal will hopefully allow us to create more chances and we won’t face the quality like Ozil’s strike every week.

“We need to make sure we take what we had in this match into West Ham, first and foremost.

“Because if we go in with that attitude and commitment and shape and strength of the team, I think we can turn the results around quicker.”

Elliot believes that the dressing room is very different to the season before last, when the club was relegated from the Premier League.

“Just being around the dressing room, the lads are speaking about the game straight after it, trying to work out what we can and can’t do better,” said Elliot.

“We’re talking to each other all the time. If people criticise each other, it’s not personal, it’s because they care.

“That’s the one thing we’ve got here. I think everyone accepts that, they know we’ve got a fantastic squad who want to give everything they can and obviously want to play for Newcastle and give everything on the pitch.

“Unfortunately, results aren’t going our way. It’s not falling for us like it was at the start of the season.

“But I can promise it’s not down to character, it’s not down to the commitment of the players.

“I think it’s a bit of inexperience, a bit of naivety sometimes. And then just that little bit of quality sometimes when we need that final finish.

“It’s just not falling for us. Arsenal was a good start of getting back to the basics we had at the beginning of the season. Hopefully, we can push on with that and build from there.”

Newcastle’s players decided to cancel their Christmas party given the club’s plight.

“It was a decision that we made because it’s not right to go out and celebrate,” said Elliot, recalled to the starting XI at the Emirates Stadium.

“I think there are more important things to worry about.

“We have great togetherness, so I think it’s an appropriate time when the club’s not where we want to be that we knuckle down and we think about football, concentrate solely on that and make sure that every focus is on the game.

“It showed against Arsenal that I don’t think you can question the commitment or the effort of the players.

“Hopefully, we can push on with that and have a good Christmas and January.”

Ozil beat Elliot with a stunning volley after United half-cleared a cross.

“That’s a quarter-chance for anyone else,” the 31-year-old. “He’s hit it coming down on volley from God knows how far up. That’s why they spent £50million on him.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up when someone strikes the ball like that and just say ‘well done, fair play’. It’s a bit of quality.

“In some ways, if someone has a bit of quality to score against you, you don’t mind. It’s when you are conceding sloppy goals at this level is when you get frustrated. When someone has to do that to score past you, you’re not happy about it, but you can take it on the chin.”

Newcastle were pushing for an equaliser late in the game.

“There were a lot of positives,” said Elliot. “They were hanging on for the last 15 minutes, and that shows we were playing well.

“In the first half we had to weather the storm. They got the goal with a bit of quality from Ozil, but, other than that, I thought we played well.

“We were determined. Our attitude was excellent. Our gameplan of going to the striker early, getting the second ball seemed to work and it got better as the game went on. Obviously, we just couldn’t get that elusive goal.”

Captain Jamaal Lascelles said that United were not yet in a relegation fight before the Arsenal game.

“There were a lot of positives for us definitely, especially in the second half with the way we pushed them back,” said Elliot.

“But we just need to take that forward into West Ham and stop this run we are on because we are in the bottom three.

“Not that we didn’t realise before, but it’s definitely clear now that we are where we are and we need to start battling for results over performances.”