Ciaran Clark speaks for us all ‘We felt we owed them one’
Ciaran Clark talked about the high motivation for Newcastle’s players on Friday night.
With Brighton’s match called off due to fog, it meant Newcastle were guaranteed to be top as we march into 2017 – if they could beat Nottingham Forest.
If any extra motivation was needed, Ciaran Clark summed it up for everybody connected to Newcastle when he declared post-match ‘we felt we owed them one’.
Exactly four weeks previous, a shocking display by the match officials saw the three points gift wrapped for Forest and it was an amusing bonus that the visitors felt hard done by when departing St James Park last night.
Forest boss Philippe Montanier claiming that the sending off was ‘incredible’ and game changing.
Newcastle started out like a team with something to prove and a 4th minute ‘cruel’ deflection for Matt Ritchie’s free-kick goal looked to have lit the fire.
However, instead of further energising Newcastle it seemed to knock them a bit flat and whilst Forest weren’t great, United’s lack of urgency/control gave them a potential route back into the game.
After equalising just short of the half hour mark, there was little to choose between the teams until the 60 minute point brought the red card after the referee consulted the fourth official.
Three minutes later Dwight Gayle had hit his 18th of the season and the revenge was well and truly sealed, a slightly comical 19th goal for Newcastle’s number nine adding an extra wound for the visitors.
“There was a lot of controversy in the game away at Forest and we felt we owed them one.
“With the Brighton game being called off as well, we knew there was a chance for us to go back to the top.
“With all of those things in the back of our minds there was an extra boost for us to go out there and do well.
“Obviously a good result in the end and I thought it was a good performance, disappointed to go in 1-1 at half time because we felt that we controlled the game.
“They tried to slow the game down and frustrate us but it didn’t get the better of us and everyone managed to keep a cool head.
“In the end, they ended up losing it themselves, the sending-off helped us and we obviously made them pay – managed to get the two goals and we’re happy in the end.
“They (Blackburn) came up here and beat us recently, so it’s another game we’ll need to concentrate on and make sure we’re at our best.
“After losing on Boxing Day, we didn’t want to get on a run where we weren’t winning and wanted to put it right quickly.
“We had the perfect opportunity to do that tonight against a good side and we did that.
“The gaps can close quickly. Brighton have won a few, we’ve made a few mistakes and that has cost us. We need to keep working hard, and keep getting the right results.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Nottingham Forest 1
Newcastle United: Ritchie 4 Gayle 63, 80
Nottingham Forest: Dumitru 29 (Mills red card 60)
Possession was Forest 40% Newcastle 60%
Total shots were Forest 8 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Forest 3 Newcastle 8
Corners were Forest 1 Newcastle 9
Newcastle starting 11:
Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden, Colback (Diame 67), Ritchie (Lazaar 83), Atsu, Perez, Gayle (Mitrovic 88)
Sels, Mbemba, Gouffran, Anita
Referee: Keith Stroud
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go HERE)
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