Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka turned 30 in style – thanks to his team-mates.
Dubravka was given a belated birthday present at the weekend when the club kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Cardiff City.
Hopefully, there will be many more games like this, and I have to say thank you for the best birthday present for me, because 3-0 at home, a clean sheet and a great effort – I couldn’t wish for more.Martin Dubravka
The result lifted the club out of the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home FA Cup tie against Watford.
Dubravka had celebrated his birthday four days earlier when Newcastle beat Blackburn Rovers in an FA Cup replay at Ewood Park.
“It was very important for us,” said the Slovakia international.
“It was a massive three points, and finally we won at home. We really needed that. I think the effort was very good.
“The players were amazing. I don’t think they even had a shot on goal, so that’s how we should play at home.”
“Hopefully, there will be many more games like this, and I have to say thank you for the best birthday present for me, because 3-0 at home, a clean sheet and a great effort – I couldn’t wish for more.
“This was the first game since I turned 30. My friends are here and they enjoyed the game.
“I have to say it was one of the best game we’ve played at home. We controlled the game. You could see every player push and give 100% for every ball.”
Cardiff only had one shot on target at St James’s Park.
And the clean sheet has given Dubravka and his team-mates confidence ahead of their next league game, the home fixture against champions Manchester City on January 29.
“It’s very important for the confidence for all the team,” said Dubravka, who will sit out the fourth-round FA Cup tie.
“Now we have Manchester City, and it will be a difficult game. Now we have to look to the future.
“But that was an important game for us - finally we have won at home.
“As I said, the defence played very well. All the team did.
“It was a great effort from everyone. Hopefully, we can continue doing this job, because against Manchester City, we cannot lose this power.
“We need to play exactly the same.”
Newcastle starting picking up momentum just over a year ago following the arrival of Dubravka and Kenedy in the January transfer window.
And Dubravka is hoping that United can go on a similar run in the second half of the season and pull away from the relegation zone.
“We need to keep going from one game to the next game,” said Dubravka.
“We need to collect some points at home. The opponents have quality, so we need to be clever.
“The last 10 minutes (against Cardiff) we were trying to go forward, and you could see the spaces in behind, so we need to be a little bit more focused in the last 10 minutes.
“It was a great job from the team.”
Freddie Woodman, 21, will be in goal for the tie against Watford.