Stand-in skipper proud to spark Newcastle into life

Ciaran Clark (right) heads Newcastle back into the game at West Brom on Tuesday
Ciaran Clark (right) heads Newcastle back into the game at West Brom on Tuesday
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Ciaran Clark told of his pride after leading Newcastle United to a hard-fought point at The Hawthorns.

Clark scored as Rafa Benitez’s side came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at West Brom on Tuesday, ending a run of four successive Premier League defeats.

Clark wore the skipper’s armband, with club captain Jamaal Lascelles injured and Jonjo Shelvey on the bench.

“It was obviously great to get a goal and be captain of the side,” said the defender, who headed a Matt Ritchie corner past Ben Foster to halve the deficit.

“Jamaal’s out injured, but hopefully he can get back as soon as possible.

“It was great for me to captain the team and get the goal, but, at this stage, we don’t care who scores. We’ll take goals from anyone, and it’s obviously nice to chip in.”

Newcastle had been under pressure to end their losing run.

“We knew we had to get something out of the game,” said Clark, who could again skipper Newcastle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with Lascelles not expected to be fit.

“We made it very difficult for ourselves, but the strength of character that we showed was massive. We’ll take real positivity and encouragement from that.

“We have to learn from our mistakes, but we could have gone on and won the game.

“I felt that if the game had gone on another 10 or 15 minutes, we would have gone on and got the win. We’re pleased with that, we’ll take that, and we’ll get ready for Saturday.”

Newcastle have a tough run of games next month, including trips to Arsenal and West Ham and a home fixture against leaders Manchester City. “We know it’s going to be tough with the games we have coming up,” added Clark.

“Every game in this league is very difficult, but we have to take some encouragement from the game in the week and be positive going into the next run of fixtures.

“We’ll get ready for the game on Saturday, which is going to be a very tough one.

“Last season was great, and we’ve carried some of that momentum and togetherness with us into the Premier League.

“We’ve got a good group together who are enjoying the challenge.

“We’ve got a great unity there, and a great squad with some really big characters. We’ll fight, and we’ll keep going no matter what the situation is. We’ll never give up, and I think we showed that.

“Form does dip a little bit, but we just have to try to work through that and keep doing what we’ve been doing.

“We’ve tried to get back to basics a bit, and we did that, especially in the second half.”