Martin Dubravka delivers revealing insight into Newcastle’s dressing room – and reacts to Mike Ashley re-engagement

Martin Dubravka.
Martin Dubravka.

Newcastle United will keep calm and carry on in the Premier League – after making their worst-ever start to a top-flight season.

The club is propping up the division ahead of tomorrow’s game against Southampton.

Winless Newcastle have lost seven of their opening nine fixtures – and are 7/4 to be relegated this season.

Manager Rafa Benitez, however, is adamant that his team will pull away from trouble.

Benitez has been blamed for the club’s plight by some pundits, but Dubravka insists that the 58-year-old isn’t being questioned by the club’s players.

And Dubravka believes Benitez’s calmness and experience will guide the team through a troubled period.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

“He’s trying to say to us how we should play, how we should react when we concede goals,” said the goalkeeper. “He’s still trying to stay positive and supporting us. That’s important to every player on the pitch, even if they don’t play they try to support and be positive.

“He’s our manager, everybody believes in him. He’s the boss. I don’t think it’s time to ask these questions now.”

Newcastle were beaten 1-0 by Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend despite having 27 shots.

Asked about the players lift themselves after each defeat, Slovakia international Dubravka said: “Of course, it’s hard if you’re not winning the games. You need to be focused about the next game.

He’s our manager, everybody believes in him. He’s the boss. I don’t think it’s time to ask these questions now.

Martin Dubravka

“You really miss this feeling, the victory. We thought that we could take the three points, but unfortunately we didn’t.

“It’s hard, of course, to still be focused and be mentally ready for every training. We need to be focused for the next game.

“We need to stay together now and keep fighting for the points. That’s important for us. We needed to take the points (against Brighton), because we knew we had a tough fixture.

“Now teams are really close to each other in the table, and a few good results, and we can still be there.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

“We’re not in that position to think we’re going to be relegated. It’s still plenty of time to take points.”

Benitez and his players met owner Mike Ashley earlier this month for a meal at a Ponteland restaurant.

Ashley – who forced Benitez to sell to buy in the summer transfer market – has watched the club’s last four games, having previously gone a year without attending a fixture.

Asked about Ashley’s re-engagement with the club and team, Dubravka said: “I don’t know what to say about it, because after that dinner we had together I left with the national team.

“I don’t know what happened after that. There was a reaction. He cares. If he wants to be closer to the team or not, we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-23s take on Middlesbrough at St James’s Park tonight (7pm kick-off) looking for a fifth successive win.