Despite playing all of his career previously in the Premier League, Ciaran Clark rates his season with Newcastle in the Championship as his best, so far…
The central defender started the season on the bench but ended it as many/most people’s idea of their player of the year.
Forming a very good partnership with Jamaal Lascelles, the pair of them were a great foundation for the promotion/title push.
With Lascelles injured in pre-season, the Clark/Lejeune relationship has developed and they look nailed on to start the season.
Whilst supporters worry whether there have been enough quality signings this summer, Ciaran Clark insists that if the squad carry over the confidence from last season ‘then we will be alright’.
The Irish international says he got sick at Aston Villa of what felt like a constant relegation battle and hopes for better times ahead now with United.
Ciaran Clark talking to the official NUFC match programme v Hellas Verona:
“We’re all very confident, with how we ended last season, but that is done now.
“Everyone is really proud and it was a great achievement but we can’t keep thinking about what we did then.
“We have to focus on the new season, and every game will be so tough, but I think we have the quality.
“If we can bring the confidence that we took from the end of last season into this season, then we will be alright.
“Everyone went away, had their breaks and enjoyed it, but I think everyone was ready to come back in and get their heads down and start working hard in preparation for next season.
“In general, that was probably the best season I have had. The winning mentality came back to me, and the squad as well, and to cap it all off by winning the league at the end of it was unbelievable.
“It was a very proud moment for myself and my family, all the lads, and the club as a whole.
“For a number of years, when you have been fighting at the bottom of the Premier League, it feels like you’re almost fighting in a relegation battle for quite a lot of the season – I think mentally, not just physically,it’s quite draining.
“But when I came here, we started winning games in the Championship and confidence got lifted.
“You could tell there was a real buzz around the place, throughout the whole club, and we carried that on throughout the season.”