HATEM Ben Arfa has pleaded with Newcastle’s disillusioned fans to keep the faith after the Magpies’ disastrous start to the season.
Alan Pardew’s side were convincingly beaten 4-0 by Manchester City on Monday, further darkening the mood on Tyneside, where there is increasing anger at Newcastle’s lack of summer investment.
Newcastle now face back to back Premier League home games against West Ham and Fulham, who both won their opening games. And Ben Arfa, one of the few players to emerge from Monday’s match with any credit, insists the players must quickly draw a line under the loss.
“The game is done, and we have to get ready for (West Ham) Saturday. It’s very, very important to win,” said the Frenchman.
“My personal message to the supporters is to support us like they do, and I will do everything for the team to repeat maybe what we did two years ago. Hopefully, we can repay them.”
Ben Arfa was troubled by a hamstring problem for much of last season, and the France international is hopeful he can steer clear of injury this term – and rediscover the blistering form which helped the club finish fifth in 2011/12.
“I need to be consistent in all the games,” he said. “I hope there are no more injuries.
“I will do my best for the team to make sure we are higher in the table at the end of the season.”
While optimism is in short supply among fans, Ben Arfa says the players remain confident that the team can challenge for a top-10 place. “We have confidence,” he said. “I think we can do something good this year.
“We had a very good pre-season. We have very good players. We have (Loic) Remy, and maybe another striker.
“I think this year we are going to be stronger than last.
“Definitely, it is our objective to finish top 10. Me, I hope we can finish top five.
“I hope, in front of everybody at St James’s Park, we win the first game at home.
“If we can win against Fulham as well, it will be great for us.”