Willock reveals surprise Newcastle trait driving upturn in results

Date published: Sunday 7th February 2021 2:34 - Neil Foster

New signing Joe Willock has hailed the collective spirit of the Newcastle players which he hopes will see them start climbing the table.

Willock, 21, has joined the Magpies on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season. And it did not take long for the midfielder to make his mark, with a goal 16 minutes into his debut.

That came in Saturday’s 3-2 triumph over Southampton at St James’ Park. The result sees the Tynesiders sitting in 16th spot in the standings.

Although they are just two places above the drop zone, Steve Bruce’s men are 10 points clear of 18th-placed Fulham.

It seems as though they will be playing top-flight football next term but nothing is ever certain in football. The boss will drive his men on to fight for every point.

They had to dig deep defensively as Saints threw everything at them in search of an equaliser. And it was with 10 men for the majority of the second half after Jeff Hendrick’s red card.

The hosts could have imploded under Southampton’s pressure but they held firm. And Willock put it down to the team spirit flowing through the ranks.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t had that in a long time, being here with the boys, and it’s just going to bring us closer and the next game, we’re just going to fight for each other even more,” he told NUFC TV. “We want to keep on pushing on from this and another three points next week.

“We were all fighting together – that’s the mentality of the team. From the first day I got here, I could see it was a very close-knit group and they wanted to fight for each other, and I’m happy it showed today.”

Bruce has feet on the ground

It has been a topsy-turvy campaign for the men in black and white. A solid start was replaced by a run of nine league games without a victory.

Wins over Everton and Southampton helped arrest the decline and the hope is they can move away from the bottom three. The addition of Willock is a bonus and Bruce remains cautiously optimistic.

“I’m never going to say we’ve turned a corner but I’ve been pleased over the last month,” he told the BBC. “There have been signs of improvement. The players are buying into it, so let’s hope we can get a few more results along the way.”

 

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