TIM Krul has attempted to lift the gloom around St James’s Park by declaring: “We’ve still got an awful lot to play for this season”.
The Magpies are in the midst of their worst run since returning to the Premier League in 2009, a run of five defeats in six having seen them slump to 15th in the table.
A daunting-looking festive schedule has the potential to plunge Alan Pardew’s men further into the top-flight mire, but that, argues Krul, is a pessimist’s view.
Instead, the Dutchman chooses to take a broader look at the state of affairs on Tyneside, issuing a reminder of just how good a campaign it could yet prove to be.
“We’re still in there – the season doesn’t end in December,” the United said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Queens Park Rangers.
“I’ve looked at the league table, and there are a lot of teams just five or six points away from us.
“We just need that little run to get ourselves back up there. It’s only a couple of wins we’re talking about.
“QPR is a must-win for us though, this one is massive.”
Krul is also quick to point out that progression in the Europa League has also been secured – indeed, United discover their last-32 fate today.
And with an FA Cup third round trip to Brighton & Hove Albion also on the horizon, the 24-year-old sees yet more reason for optimism.
“Our aim at the start of the season was to get through Europe, make sure we book our place in the last 32,” he went on.
“We did that, and we’ve also got the FA Cup coming up as well, so there’s an awful lot to play for this season.”
United, however, did stutter around this same period 12 months ago, a fact of which Krul is mindful.
“This is a really important time of the year with the amount of games in a short period,” the Holland international added.
“We have to make sure we don’t have a dip like we did last year.
“Get a little run through this period and things could look very bright going into the new year.”