Draws not good enough for Newcastle in relegation dogfight - Atsu
Christian Atsu reckons that Newcastle United are still “in control” of their own destiny despite a weekend in which they emerged with nothing to show for their efforts.
The 2-0 defeat at Anfield sees the Magpies slip a little closer to the relegation zone but the Ghana international is refusing to lose heart and is already revved up for United’s encounter with Southampton at St James’ Park.
Victory against the Saints will put a four-point gap between Newcastle and Mauricio Pellegrino’s men and the game is already being classed as a “must win” for both teams.
Atsu told the Chronicle: “The players don’t need to be told how important this game is for us. We must control what happens after Liverpool and our main focus is to get the three points at all costs.
“The focus is to stay up. But to do that we have to win our next game so we just need to win that.
“Then we will look to win against Huddersfield too.”
Newcastle’s feeble Premier League record at Anfield - where they haven’t won since 1994 - continued on Saturday night as the search for a victory against Liverpool goes on.
Atsu added: “It was a shame. Every game starts at 0-0 and you try to compete.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, we did not go there to draw or lose.
“We went there to win the game so we are very disappointed. We’re disappointed because we couldn’t cope with their attack but we must now focus on the next game.
“Our game against Southampton is the most important game for us because it’s the next one.
“We fought hard at Liverpool and if we do that we’ll get a win. We will believe we will come out with the fans behind us and get them a victory.”
Newcastle have only tasted Premier League defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City this year but Atsu knows that draws aren’t good enough at the moment.
He said: “It’s true, we aren’t losing a lot of games but we also need to starting taking three points.
“Against Bournemouth we deserved the three points but couldn’t take them. So we need to now focus on getting three points and not sharing with other teams.”
With Liverpool now behind the Magpies it was back to work at Benton this week but Atsu feels there are still lessons to be learned from the defeat at Anfield.
He said: “We are working really hard.
“At Liverpool we tried to press their defence and make it difficult for them. We didn’t allow them to get through the middle.
“We made some little mistakes at the end but we’ll take the positives from this game and make sure we learn from those mistakes.”