Newcastle United starting to click insists Hatem Ben Arfa


HATEM Ben Arfa is adamant Newcastle United can finally get their Premier League campaign up and running – thanks to their cup scare.

The forward came off the bench to set up both goals in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup win over Morecambe.

United – who face Fulham at St James’s Park tomorrow – were battered in the first half at the Globe Arena.

But they found an attacking fluency after Ben Arfa’s second-half introduction and goals from Shola and Sammy Ameobi booked Newcastle a third-round tie against Leeds.

While the overall performance was far from convincing, Ben Arfa felt the team – which took one point from its opening two league games – “clicked” under pressure late on.

And he insists the togetherness in the camp was evident from the goal celebrations.

“Morecambe was good for our minds,” Ben Arfa told SportMail. “We felt something in the team. When we scored everybody was together.

“We felt something. Something happened. The team clicked. It was very important for us.

“It’s hard to play a League Two team, especially when they play at home. It was a physical, tight game.

“We were very happy to win the game. The supporters were unbelievable. They gave us such motivation.

“In France it’s not like this. In France, it’s easier.

“When you play against League Two, it’s almost like the Premier League.”

Ben Arfa was troubled by a hamstring injury last term, but the 26-year-old, Newcastle’s main creative force, now feels 100 per cent fit after coming through a punishing pre-season.

“I try to do my best every time I am on the pitch,” he said. “I was injured but the more I play games, my level increases.

“I had a big pre-season and now I’m 100 per cent. I think season will be great. We know everybody is waiting for a win. We know that. From now, Fulham is in our minds.”

The Fulham fixture is followed by a two-week international break, with United resuming their league campaign with a tough visit to Aston Villa on August 14.

“We have to win [tomorrow], because if we win this game, we’ll have won one, lost one and drawn one,” said Ben Arfa.

“After that we have one away, so it’s very important to win that game.”