Former Newcastle United forward Lee Clark has lauded the Toon’s character after coming from behind to beat AFC Bournemouth, and believes the embarrassing 5-0 loss to Leicester City was our watershed moment of the season.
Harry Wilson had put the Cherries ahead in the 14th-minute of their trip to St. James’ Park before the international break, but goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark ensured the points remained on Tyneside rather than heading to the south coast.
It was the first time under Steve Bruce that we have come from behind to win a game, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United 1-0 and stormed to a 3-0 lead at West Ham United when we beat the Irons 3-2.
Keeping all of the spoils against Eddie Howe’s Vitality Stadium natives earlier this month also meant Bruce had orchestrated a three-game unbeaten stretch, and taken ten of a possible 15 points since losing at Leicester in September.
“I think Newcastle’s watershed moment, for me, was the Leicester performance and result,” Clark told Tribal Football. “When that happened, I think Steve must have sat down with his staff and players and have had individual and team meetings to get to the bottom of why things weren’t particularly starting so well.
“And I think from the performances that I’ve seen since Leicester that seems like a bit of a watershed moment in terms of what they are trying to do. I hope they can continue the momentum they’ve got, and I’ve got faith that they can, because of what was shown in the last game against Bournemouth.
“The visitors started brilliantly in the first 20 minutes and scored a perfect goal off the training ground. But instead of shrinking, Newcastle showed the character that they have now. They withstood the pressure from a real good footballing side and eventually came back into the game, grabbing an equaliser and then the win.
“It showed to me that they’ve got the character to not only respond to a setback, but come back from that setback and win games, which is what they’ll need to do this season.”
What will the result be at Villa Park?
Monday’s trip to Aston Villa will be very telling as to if the first-team, and Bruce, have had their watershed moment for the season, and that the signs Clark points to against Bournemouth were not just a one-off.
Since beating the Cherries, we have had a two-week break for the international fixtures, and maintaining the momentum gained from the win will not be as strong as it could have been had we been facing the Villans immediately after.
But if we can start promisingly at Villa Park and show the character lauded by Clark, then the signs for the future will be very promising ahead of the packed festive schedule.