Yoan Gouffran says Newcastle United need to do more than just make a point against Norwich City in Sunday’s Premier League clash at St James’s Park.
Steve McClaren’s winless and injury-hit side are among the favourites to be relegated this season, sitting bottom of the table going into the Canaries game.
Newcastle, hammered 6-1 in their last game before the international break by Manchester City, are already five points adrift of safety, and Gouffran – who started at the Etihad Stadium – believes a draw against 13th-placed Norwich will not be good enough.
“We have to win against Norwich – not a draw,” said Gouffran.
Newcastle led against City, but they were blown away after the break. But Gouffran – who was fielded as a makeshift defensive midfielder against Manuel Pellegrini’s side with Jack Colback sidelined with an injury – insists the players are still confident they can turn it round.
“The confidence is still there, but we have to show it for not only one half,” said the 29-year-old.
“We can’t give up. We have to play like we did in the first half for all the game.
“If we do that, I think we can win.”
Boss Steve McClaren will welcome back a clutch of players from injury to face Norwich.
Jack Colback, Massadio Haidara and Paul Dummett are all expected to be available, while Daryl Janmaat is fit, having missed Holland’s two Euro 2016 qualifiers with a knee problem.
“Janmaat’s trained for the last couple of days, and Colback, Haidara and Dummett have all trained too,” said McClaren. “They’re all in contention for the weekend.”
McClaren, meanwhile, says he has full confidence in Rob Elliot – but he hasn’t ruled out signing another goalkeeper in January.
McClaren lost No 1 keeper Tim Krul to a season-ending injury during the international break, the Dutchman rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament playing for Holland last weekend.
With Karl Darlow sidelined with an ankle problem, Elliot is next in line and will make his first appearance since last December, ahead of Freddie Woodman, who has been recalled from a loan spell at Crawley Town.
Asked about Elliot’s readiness, head coach McClaren said: “He’s in as good a condition as can be without actually playing.
“He missed pre-season, but he’s certainly been training in the last few weeks.
“Even before Karl Darlow got injured, there was a possibility of Rob going away on loan, but I said ‘no, we’ll keep him here’. We like him – he’s very good in training – and now he has to produce it in the games.”
McClaren, however, couldn’t hide his disappointment at the loss of Krul, who had only been handed a start for Holland after Jasper Cillessen broke down in the warm-up for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana. “It’s a massive blow for us – you’re talking about one of the best players in our team,” he said.
While McClaren says he has confidence in Elliot, the club’s goalkeeping situation will be reviewed ahead of the January transfer window.
“There’s a couple of months before that,” said McClaren. “I certainly think that by January, we’ll know (if another goalkeeper is needed).”
Norwich boss Alex Neil confirmed no fresh injury concerns with the players returning from international duty.
Playmaker Wes Hoolahan has shrugged off a heel problem picked up during the home defeat by Leicester.
Neil is determined his men can produce a response to the disappointment of losing to Leicester by heaping more misery on the Magpies, who are bottom of the table.
“It will be a tough game as they all are in the Premier League, but if we perform at our maximum and play like we have done for the majority of the games this season, then there is no reason why we can’t go there and get the result,” Neil said.
Meanwhile, Newcastle pair Alex Gilliead and Macaulay Gillesphey have extended their loan spells at League Two club Carlisle United until the end of the season.