'It doesn't mean a thing' – Andy Carroll on THAT Newcastle United goal and the togetherness that WILL get the Magpies safe this season

Andy Carroll is confident Newcastle have got what it will take to drag themselves out of a mid-season slump and ease their way back up the Premier League table.

By PA reporter
Monday, 4th January 2021, 5:44 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Andy Carroll of Newcastle United FC (7) speaks to media during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 03, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Andy Carroll of Newcastle United FC (7) speaks to media during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 03, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The Magpies slipped to a fourth defeat in six games in all competitions when in-form Leicester left St James' Park with a 2-1 victory on Sunday, in the process dissipating some of the optimism created by a spirited display in which they had held champions Liverpool to a 0-0 draw four days earlier.

A return of just two points from a possible 15 since the middle of last month either side of a Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Championship Brentford has added to the ire of dissenting fans, but Carroll insists the dressing room remains united.

He told NUFC TV: "You saw in the performance against Liverpool especially how we can play when we stick together.

"We defended well, we went forward well and we are a team - and we're like that every day in training as well."

Newcastle's recent slump - they had established themselves comfortably in mid-table with back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and West Brom as November turned to December - is mitigated by the Covid-19 outbreak which is still having a significant impact on Steve Bruce's squad, and a festive fixture list which pitted them against Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester inside nine days.

Carroll admitted: "It's not been a nice run, especially when the games are every two, three days. It's been tough for everyone, rolling out every two or three days.

"But that's what happens around this time of year and unluckily for us, we got the best teams in the league."

As valid as those excuses are, the Magpies need to improve significantly if they are not be be dragged into yet another battle for top-flight survival.

Carroll's 82nd-minute consolation strike was their first goal in 378 minutes of football.

The striker last scored for his home-town club against Manchester City on Boxing Day in 2010, a little more than a month before his £35 million move to Liverpool, and while the goal came as a relief, it counted for little.

Carroll said: "It's been a long time, but it doesn't mean anything at the end of the day now, so we'll just move on to the next."