We’re in a better place to deliver
CLARK BELIEVES UNITED WILL AVOID RELEGATION
CIARAN Clark says he’s constantly learning from Rafa Benitez, thanks to his attention to detail.
What’s more, the Ireland defender insists that Newcastle United can comfortably avoid relegation from the Premier League, having showed what they’re capable of in the weekend’s 3-0 victory over West Ham.
Clark scored in that game, which was the Magpies’ first win of the season.
It eased the pressure of a poor start to the season which had seen two defeats in the opening games, not helped by tensions off the pitch between manager and owner due to lack of transfer activity.
For now, Clark’s attention now turns to international duty with Ireland. Martin O’Neill’s side face two important World Cup qualifiers away at Georgia and home to Serbia, with the Toon centre-back hoping to play his part in moving his country closer to a spot in next summer’s competition.
And Clark believes thanks to Benitez, he’s in a better place to deliver.
“I feel I’ve improved under the manager [Benítez] and hopefully continue to,” the 27-year-old said.
“He pulls the group of defenders in, and the midfielders and strikers or whatever groups, and looks to see if there’s anything there he can improve. Once he’s something to tell you, he’ll want to keep practising it until it’s second nature.”
There’ll be big pressure on Clark if he’s given the nod in Ireland’s two upcoming games.
A lot has been made recently of the pressure on Newcastle players at St James’ Park, with Graeme Souness once again describing the negative affects it can have.
But Clark insists any pressure on Tyneside is nothing but a positive to him and the current players.
He said: “Everyone expected Newcastle to go up last season. There was a lot of pressure on us from that end.
“It was good pressure. It was different from what I was used to in the past.
“The fans now want to see us improving and kicking on, it is a massive club that should be in the Premier League and we want to stay there.
“If we keep showing the attitude we did at the weekend, keep that going, then I am sure we will be OK.
“Going off the back of last season coming into the Premier League, we want to do our best to make sure we’re in the Premier League next season for a start.
“Everyone would love to have a cup run, especially for the fans, but the most important thing is to survive in the Premier League.”