Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot: Spirit shown at Arsenal can help us turn around the season

Rob Elliot says Newcastle United must start making their own luck '“ after dropping into the relegation zone.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 5:15 am
Rob Elliot

Rafa Benitez’s side are 18th in the Premier League after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, an eighth loss in nine games

Newcastle, however, put in a spirited performance and stayed in the game against the Gunners, who claimed all three points thanks to a stunning first-half volley from Mesut Ozil.

Asked about the Magpies’ league position, goalkeeper Elliot – recalled in place of Karl Darlow – said: “We’re there because we have lost the last eight out of nine, so you can’t say ‘oh, we’ve been unlucky’.

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“We need to make sure that going forward we address it and we make sure we are putting in performances like we did at Arsenal.

“When we play the teams around us, the attitude and the way we played against Arsenal will hopefully allow us to create more chances and we won’t face the quality like Ozil’s strike every week.

“We need to make sure we take what we had in this match into West Ham (this Saturday), first and foremost.

“Because if we go in with that attitude and commitment and shape and strength of the team, I think we can turn the results around quicker.”

Elliot believes that the dressing room is very different to the season before last, when the Tynesiders were relegated from the Premier League.

“We’re talking to each other all the time. If people criticise each other, it’s not personal, it’s because they care,” he said.

“Unfortunately, results aren’t going our way. It’s not falling for us like it was at the start of the season.

“But I can promise it’s not down to character, it’s not down to the commitment of the players.

“I think it’s a bit of inexperience, a bit of naivety sometimes. And then just that little bit of quality sometimes when we need that final finish.

“It’s just not falling for us. Arsenal was a good start of getting back to the basics we had at the beginning of the season. Hopefully, we can push on with that and build from there.”

Ozil beat Elliot with a stunning volley after United half-cleared a cross.

“That’s a quarter-chance for anyone else,” the 31-year-old added. “He’s hit it coming down on the volley from God knows how far up. That’s why they spent £50million on him.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up when someone strikes the ball like that and just say ‘well done, fair play’. It’s a bit of quality.

“In some ways, if someone has a bit of quality to score against you, you don’t mind. It’s when you are conceding sloppy goals at this level is when you get frustrated. When someone has to do that to score past you, you’re not happy about it, but you can take it on the chin.”

Newcastle were pushing for an equaliser late in the game.

“There were a lot of positives,” said Elliot. “They were hanging on for the last 15 minutes, and that shows we were playing well.

“In the first half we had to weather the storm. They got the goal with a bit of quality from Ozil, but, other than that, I thought we played well.

“We were determined. Our attitude was excellent. Our gameplan of going to the striker early, getting the second ball seemed to work and it got better as the game went on. Obviously, we just couldn’t get that elusive goal.”

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Xhaka, Iwobi (Welbeck 72), Ozil, Sanchez (Coquelin 89), Lacazette (Giroud 73). Subs not used: Ospina, Chambers, Kolasinac, Elneny. Booked: Monreal, Xhaka. Goal: Ozil 23

Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy (Gayle 67), Merino (Diame 82), Hayden, Atsu (Ritchie 54), Joselu, Perez. Subs not used: Clark, Dummett, Aarons, Darlow. Booked: Hayden.

Att: 59,379. Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).