Karl Darlow has come back into the side over the last couple of games and has kept two clean sheets after we picked up a point at home to Brighton and all 3 points away at Stoke City in the 1-0 win.
Darlow made a bad mistake in the home game against Everton last month, and he was dropped, but he’s come back into the side after Rob Elliott has a thigh problem again.
Karl Darlow made maybe five or six top-class saves at Stoke including two magnificent reaction saves in the last 10 minutes when Stoke tried to salvage something from the game.
Karl Darlow – makes brilliant save at Stoke
Darlow has been interviewed in the Shields Gazette, and you can see some of Rafa’s principles as Karl talks about what Newcastle need to do to keep in the Premier League this season.
Darlow was asked if it was good to get a winning start to 2018:
“Of course, it’s been pleasing for me recently. I just want to help the team do well and to help us climb this league.”
“Time and time again the manager has said that it’s a squad game, and we know, as players, that we need to all be ready to come in and be ready to come in and help out when we can.”
“We’ve got to continue fighting for one another, which we do keep doing.”
“I was pleased to get some reaction saves, some instinctive ones – the ones we work on in training,” “They were good saves and I was pleased to help the team get three points.”
“It’s not great for a goalkeeper when conditions are like that here (rain downpour),” “It’s quite tough when it starts hammering it down.”
““It was a good defensive display again. We were solid throughout and that gave us a base from which we could attack.”
“Definitely, it’s the perfect way to start,” “It was a massive game given the positions of both teams in the table.”
“The fight we showed during the game, as well as the passion and desire throughout, really sums up what this group is about.”
“As long as we’re in the game, we’ll keep going, and we didn’t allow our focus to drop even though we missed chances. “We always want to make sure we’re in a position to win the game.”
“We fought until the end, dealt with all the high balls and crosses on what was a horrible day.” “It goes to show we’re ready for the fight, and we’re happy for the three points.”
“We need to keep gaining momentum and confidence,” “It’s a different style of play away from home to how we play at home, but as long as we keep picking up points, then it doesn’t matter whether we pick them up at home or away from home.”
“We’ll be happy as long as we can keep climbing the table and making sure we stay in the Premier League.”
“We want to do our best in every single match,” “The Premier League may be our priority because we desperately want to stay in this division, but a good run in the FA Cup’s good for confidence and good for the squad.”
“Hopefully, we can do well in that.”
With those comments from Karl, you can understand what Rafa drills into his players in every single training session.
With Rob, Elliot injured it could be that young Freddie Woodman, the England U21 goalkeeper, makes his competitive debut for Newcastle against Luton Town on Saturday at St. James’ Park.
Then we have a crucial game at home to Swansea on the following Saturday – and we have to find some way of winning that game.
If we can get 3 points, we will have won three of our last five league games.