TIM Krul says there will be no excuses for Newcastle United between now and the end of the season.
Alan Pardew’s side take on in-form Manchester City at St James’s Park on Sunday looking to maintain their challenge for a high-placed finish in the Premier League.
Newcastle are eighth after back to back league defeats to Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion.
With all hopes of a cup run gone, following last week’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff, Newcastle’s players are now focused on finishing as high up the table as possible – with memories of their fifth-place finish in 2011/12 still fresh in the mind.
“I know what a quality side we have here,” Krul said.
“We used (the Europa League) as an excuse last year, and we’re showing that that was a massive reason for it (for the club’s poor league form).
“We don’t have to look at that any more – we’re looking forward.”
Goalkeeper Krul – who missed the Cardiff game with a shoulder problem – is expected to be fit to face second-placed City, who knocked United out of the Capital One Cup at St James’s Park in October.
Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has distanced himself from speculation linking the Ligue 1 club with a move for Newcastle’s suspended right-back Mathieu Debuchy.
It had been suggested in France that Debuchy had been earmarked as a replacement for Christophe Jallet, who has undergone hernia surgery.
But Blanc – who is interested in signing United midfielder Yohan Cabaye – has played down the reports as he waits for his medical staff to give him on a timescale on Jallet’s return.
“It’s a little too early to be speaking of a replacement,” said Blanc. “Honestly, it’s not that I do not want to answer, but Christophe had surgery (yesterday) morning. We wish him a speedy recovery.
“He will be analysed by the medical staff, and they will tell us what needs to be done.”