Amid the gloom of a sixth defeat in eight matches came at least some good news for Newcastle United – Luuk de Jong is keen to make his loan move permanent.
The Netherlands international is on loan until the end of the season from Borussia Moenchengladbach – but whereas fellow on-loan striker Loic Remy seems determined to keep his options open, De Jong has stated his desire to stay.
The 23-year-old made his full debut in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Chelsea, where the outstanding Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick.
He said: “I would like to be important for this team, in terms of goals and assists, and work hard.
“I’m on loan with an option to stay and I would like to go on with this option if it is possible.
“I would like to try to impress enough to stay. It is a really big and nice club. I am really happy I have come here. I have played from the start here at Chelsea, I have played my first 90 minutes and I feel good.
“I hope I can keep going from here and I hope in the summer to stay.
“It was a tough first game to start, Chelsea are a difficult team.”
Although he played 90 minutes for the first time this season, it was hard to judge De Jong.
When Newcastle were creating chances in the first half, the only one which came his way was a Moussa Sissoko cross that the striker had to stretch behind for. While he put the ball on target, a lack of power made it easy enough for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.
For much of the game de Jong was an isolated figure, although he did little to press Chelsea’s back four in possession.
Coming into a side which has now scored just twice in eight games and is without its three top scorers this season – the suspended Remy, January departure Yohan Cabaye and the injured Yoan Gouffran – has been a tall order for De Jong, who has spent most of the campaign on the bench in Germany.
He added: “To lose 3-0 to Sunderland at home last week (when De Jong was a half-time substitute) was hard and then we lose the same again here.
“There were some moments in the game where we played quite well. We could have had two goals but then Hazard was really quick on the break and he scored twice.”
Two heavy defeats have done nothing to dampen De Jong’s enthusiasm for his new club. He said: “I have a really good feeling about the place.
“After the Sunderland defeat it wasn’t a nice place, the disappointment was strong. That was a game we couldn’t lose – and we did.
“It’s been nice so far for me because I know Tim Krul really well from the national team.
“I also know Vurnon (Anita) and (Cheick) Tiote from FC Twente (where they were team-mates), they have helped me to settle. All of the players have been nice to me also, so I like it I would have to say.”
The pace of his first full Premier League game held few surprises for De Jong and encouragingly, with another game at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, he came through it well. He added: “Before I arrived I had the tests to see how I felt.
“I felt quite good and I have played 90 minutes here and I still feel like I could have played longer, I still had some energy left.
“It was probably what I expected. If you lose the ball against Chelsea you know it’s dangerous.
“There were times when we played good football, but when you have the ball you soon have two or three players around you.
“It was never going to be nice but we have played quite well in stages of this game. “