Martin Dubravka is an old head in a young Newcastle United dressing room – and the goalkeeper has had some wise words for his team-mates.
Dubravka was outstanding in Saturday’s goalless draw against Southampton.
The goalkeeper made a series of first-half saves and came for cross after cross after the break as the home team pressed for a winner.
Winless Newcastle moved off the bottom of the Premier League after the result.
Dubravka was a calming influence on the pitch at the St Mary’s Stadium – and the 29-year-old has also attempted to calm nerves in the dressing room.
“I’m one of the oldest players in the dressing room, and I’ve been trying to explain to everyone that we still have a lot of games in front of us,” said Dubravka.
I’m happy that we didn’t concede a goal. It’s not only about me as a goalkeeper – defensively, the players helped me a lot.Martin Dubravka
“We can still take a lot of points. The most important thing is that we fight for every point every time we go out on to the pitch.
“I definitely don’t think it’s a time to panic, because it’s still the beginning of the season.
“We know it could be better, and we could be in a better position with more points, but the games that we’ve played are in the past now. We just have to look to the future.”
Dubravka shrugged off the plaudits after the game – and paid tribute to the players in front of him.
Federico Fernandez, Mohamed Diame and Paul Dummett made important blocks in the second half as Southampton laid seige to his goal.
“As a keeper, it’s great to see the players in front of you throwing themselves in the way of shots and really putting their bodies on the line,” said Dubravka, signed on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague in the summer.
“We did everything together, and we didn’t concede, together.
“It’s not only about the keeper, I think that as a team we defended really well. After the game, we thought we could take three points, not one point, but the point is something we can take into the next game.
“I’m happy that we didn’t concede a goal. It’s not only about me as a goalkeeper – defensively, the players helped me a lot.
“I think we did well, and we just have to take the confidence from the clean sheet into the next game.
“I think we looked solid defensively, and that’s important for us with the position we’re in.
“We knew before the game that we were not in the best position.
“We would have liked to have won the game, but unfortunately we didn’t. But we also have to say that we didn’t lose, and that’s important.
“We took one point, and now we can look forward to the next game.
“I’m happy that we didn’t concede a goal, but I really have to say that we played as a team out there.
“You could see that right through the game, we fought for every ball. It was a tough game against a quality team. We have mixed feelings after the game, because we thought we could win.
“In the end, we have to take the one point.”
Newcastle’s travelling fans chanted Dubravka’s name at the St Mary’s Stadium, where Newcastle haven’t won since 2004.
“It is fantastic when you hear your name being chanted by the fans,” said the Slovakia international.
““I really appreciate that, and, as a player, it gives you confidence.
“We are together, we are united, and it’s an amazing feeling to have them behind us.
“We would like to give them everything. In some of the previous games, it was not enough, but I hope they could see that we gave everything out there.”
United’s three points this season have come from goalless draws away from home.
“We’ve kept a few clean sheets away from home, and that’s good, but we also know we could have taken more points from all of those games,” said Dubravka.
“We could even have taken more points from the games we have played against the top teams.
“We didn’t, so we just have to be focused on the games that are coming up now. Getting a point was important for us.”
Newcastle’s next two games – against Watford on Saturday and Bournemouth on November 11 – are at St James’s Park.
“It’s good that are we are playing at home in the next couple of games – we have to get a victory for the fans,” said Dubravka. “They were amazing today, supporting us, and we would like to give them everything.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t win today, but we have to bring the attitude we showed today into the games that are coming up.”