TIM Krul has told his Newcastle United team-mates not to “beat themselves up” about Friday's defeat by Liverpool, and instead focus on the last time they welcomed Manchester United to St James's Park.
The champions will be back on Wednesday, tails between their legs after a 3-2 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers denied them the chance to end 2011 top of the Premier League.
The Magpies are not in the best of form either, their 3-1 reverse at Anfield meaning they have won just one of their last eight games.
But they can take heart from the fact the injury-ravaged Red Devils are yet to beat them under manager Alan Pardew, drawing home and away last year. It is the first of those games Krul is looking to for inspiration.
The April game holds particularly fond memories for Krul, as the clean sheet was the start of his rise to first-choice status. Brought in because of injury to Steve Harper, he has not missed a Premier League game since, and is now starting to be regarded as one of the best in the division.
“Some people will say it’s going to be hard but we’ll be looking forward to it,” said the Dutch international. “And to be honest, we always play well against them. Last year we had a 0-0 game and we just have to get back to those basics that served us so well.”
This season’s meeting was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, one of only three league games there Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have been denied victory in this season.
By contrast Newcastle have a dire record at Anfield.
Having taken the lead against the run of play there on Friday, only a brilliant goal-line clearance from Martin Skrtel prevented Demba Ba equalising Craig Bellamy’s second goal for the Reds. While it denied Newcastle the opportunity to build on an important Boxing Day win at Bolton, Krul stressed they cannot feel sorry for themselves.
“We can’t beat ourselves up about Liverpool,” he said. “We could have won that game – it was one of those crazy nights.
“We just have to step away from the game, take it on the chin and analyse it.
“But we’re at St James’s Park (on Wednesday) and it will be a different story in front of our own crowd.”
Twelve months ago Krul was a frustrated reserve, battling Harper and Fraser Forster for a place in the side. Both men have been sent out on loan this season. Harper is back from a spell at Brighton, but Forster is at Celtic for the whole season and possibly beyond.
Having also made his international debut last year – in a June friendly with Brazil – the 23-year-old has fond memories of 2011, but Pardew’s refusal to state the obvious and anoint him No.1 is part of a strategy to ensure he does not dwell on past glories.
“I’m playing now, week in and week out but I won’t rest on my laurels and the manager, quite rightly, will always keep reminding me of that,” he said.
“I’ve got Harps and Robbie Elliot fighting and keeping me on my toes and they will continue to do that. Of course I’m more than pleased, it’s 19 games now – I’m playing well and feeling on top of my game.
“I’m just disappointed about Anfield.”
Meanwhile, Steven Taylor has set himself the target of defying the medics after rupturing his Achilles against Chelsea last month.
“I know Newcastle expect me to be out for the rest of the season, but I am hoping to be back for the penultimate match of the season against Manchester City in May,” he revealed. “You have got to have goals in life. And that’s mine.”