DCSIMG

Newcastle United Craven a return to form – Bigirimana

GAEL Bigirimana says Newcastle United are determined to put their European disappointment behind them at Craven Cottage.

Alan Pardew’s side take on Fulham on Monday night on the back of a disappointing Europa League defeat at Bordeaux.

Newcastle’s group stage campaign ended with a lacklustre performance at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, with the club’s first defeat in Europe this season.

However, the club was already assured of a place in the February’s Round of 32 before a ball was kicked in France – and 14th-placed Newcastle will now focus on improving their Premier League position over the next two months.

Bigirimana scored the Magpies’ third goal in Monday night’s convincing 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic, a result ended a run of four successive domestic defeats, and Bigirimana is targeting back-to-back league victories.

“We’ve turned the corner, and we want to keep going,” said Bigirimana.

“Fulham are a good side. It will be a tough place to get three points – it won’t be easy. But we have to have confidence and regain our winning mentality. Nothing’s impossible.

“The games come and thick and fast, and we’re getting our players back (from injury) now.”

Bigirimana came off the bench against Wigan with Newcastle leading 2-0 thanks to two goals from Demba Ba.

And the teenager sealed the win with a stunning 20-yard strike.

While Bigirimana, signed from Coventry City in the summer, insists he will always “cherish” the goal, he isn’t about to rest on his laurels.

“It is a goal that I’ll cherish throughout my life – but it’s in the past now,” he added.

“I’m just concentrating on proving my game. If the manager thinks I’m playing well, then that’s all I can do for him.”

Bigirimana was one of Newcastle’s better performers against Bordeaux, whose striker Cheick Diabate scored a goal in each half.

“I was disappointed we didn’t get a result,” he said. “But it’s another game where I’ve got experience under my belt. It was a different type of ground and a different type of team with a different mentality.

“So I have to look on the positive side of things – we got the experience under our belts. If we play in Europe again in France, we now know what to expect.

“In every game you should try to go for a win, but it wasn’t to be so we move on.

“We could have stopped the first goal because it came from a free-kick. The second goal was just a ball behind the defence. We were caught watching the ball. It’s a learning curve for us.”

 
 
 

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