TIM Krul says the team spirit which got Newcastle United into Europe least season is back.
The Dutch goalkeeper pointed to Sunday’s dogged 1-1 draw at Liverpool as proof of the mentality which served the Magpies so well last term.
The hosts had 66% of possession and a man advantage for the final 10 minutes of a game three Newcastle players limped off in.
But a moment of individual brilliance from Luis Suarez was the only way they could beat Krul and claim a point.
“The spirit is definitely back,” Krul declared afterwards.
“There is a real determination within the squad that was there last season as well.”
The decision not to appeal Fabricio Coloccini’s red card, for a studs-up tackle on Suarez, has further reduced manager Alan Pardew’s options for the next Premier League game, at home to West Ham United.
Cheick Tioté completes his own suspension that day, while James Perch, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba all left the game early through injury.
“I have been injured as well, and we haven’t really had a solid base all season,” commented Krul.
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be for the next few weeks either.
“That’s a shame, but we still walk away from Anfield with a point and we have some great games to look forward to.
“There’s going to be more changes in the backline now, and that’s always something you could really do without. Fabricio is one of our star players, so it is a shame we are going to be without him.
“It’s happened though and we have to handle it, just like we’ve handled it all year. We’ll be all right.”
Under the circumstances, a draw was a good result, though in his after-match television interview Pardew expressed disappointment.
“There are mixed feeling after the game,” Krul admitted.
“We should be happy with a point, especially when you lose your key players through injury. I don’t think you can complain because they played well as well.
“It’s just a shame to lose your star players. That’s the only downside of the day, but it is a big one.
“We knew they were going to keep the ball a lot, but over the course of the game, they didn’t really hurt us.
“We did well, but they scored a great goal and sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say, ‘That’s a good goal’.
“We played well and were 1-0 up half-time, and then tried to control the game a little bit more.
“But then you lose your players and that makes it hard.
“We have only lost one away game in the league and that was at Chelsea, so that is really positive.
“If you keep not losing away and winning your home games, you are always going to do well in the league.
“The next four or five games are going to be massive for us, and ones we feel we can definitely get three points off.
“We just need to be ready and hopefully get everybody fit. Hopefully some of the injuries are not as bad as first thought.”
Ba has been shortlisted for the Confederation of African Football (CAF)’s African Player of the Year Award.
Manchester City’s Yaya Touré, Arsenal’s Gervino and Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel are amongst the ten, along with Barcelona’s Alex Song and Shanghai Shenhua’s Didier Drogba, who were at Arsenal and Chelsea respectively last season.
A winner will be announced in Accra on December 20.
Thursday’s Europa League opponents Brugge have explained the sacking of Georges Leekens.
“This was not an easy nor a hasty decision,” said a club statement.
“The level of performance and the results have – even considering injuries – been insufficient for a while given the potential in the squad.”
Leekens resigned as manager of the highly-rated Belgian squad to take the Brugge job – a decision which looks even worse now.
Brugge are seventh in the Jupiler League, having won none of their last five matches.
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