NUFC go back to basics in bid to reverse poor Premier League form

TOP GUN ... Theo Walcott scores against Newcastle.

TOP GUN ... Theo Walcott scores against Newcastle.

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TIM Krul says Newcastle United have gone back to basics in a bid to pull away from relegation trouble.

The point the club took from Saturday’s goalless draw at Norwich City ended a run of four league and cup successive defeats.

Newcastle conceded 15 goals in that run, and goalkeeper Krul says he and his team-mates have built a more solid foundation ahead of Saturday’s crucial home game against second-from-bottom Reading.

United are just two points above the Premier League’s bottom three.

And having shipped so many goals over the festive period, keeping a clean sheet against Chris Hughton’s side at Carrow Road was all-important for Krul.

“It sets up the game next week,” Krul told SportMail.

“We weren’t in too much trouble. We were hoping to nick a goal.

“We were solid at the back, and hopefully we’ll get three points. We needed that – we needed to build.

“Confidence took a massive knock over the Christmas period, and this is a good base.

“It’s not an easy place to come – Norwich have had some massive results against the bigger teams – and we can be pleased with the clean sheet and the 0-0.

“It was never going to be easy, but I think we did well.”

Krul was relatively untroubled in the Newcastle goal, though Anthony Pilkington shaved the post with one second-half effort from distance.

At the other end, Pardew’s team created few chances, with lone striker Papiss Demba Cisse an isolated figure with the emphasis more on defence than attack.

“It wasn’t going to go in, but it still had me a little worried,” added Krul, who returned to the side in Norfolk after being rested for the club’s FA Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

“We didn’t close it down, and he had a free shot.

“Apart from that, we had them covered all along.” The Reading game is followed by a visit to another struggling team, 18th-placed Aston Villa, on January 29.

And Krul is confident United, beaten by Everton on their last home outing, can put some distance between themselves and the drop zone, over which Newcastle have been hovering for far too long.

“Confidence has been knocked,” said the Holland international.

“We’ve had no luck whatsoever. We hadn’t been good enough.

“It’ll be nice to build on this in the two games coming up against Reading and Aston Villa.

“Hopefully, we can get a few points out of those games.”

Twitter: @milesstarforth