Defender: Time To Show Our Quality

By SFC Media time Fri 23 Nov Club

With his side's winless run having been brought to an end at Queens Park Rangers last week, right-back Nathaniel Clyne is targeting another improved defensive showing against Newcastle on Sunday.

Having conceded an average of 2.8 goals per game in their first ten Barclays Premier League fixtures, Saints' rearguard was breached just once against each Swansea and QPR.

And Clyne says he and his fellow defenders are intent on continuing their progress when the Toon Army come to town this weekend.

"We've been working very hard on the training field," said the summer signing, who formed part of a starting XI with an average age of 23 years and 166 days at Loftus Road. 

"Our coach has been working on the back four and also defending from the front, which is important. 

"We're young, and experience will come from getting games. Everyone knows their roles, so now it's time to take it into matches.

"It is tough when you concede a lot of goals, but we are going to get better – and the only way we'll do that is by learning from our mistakes. 

"We're working hard on the training field at our defensive shape and defensive duties.

"It's important to give us time. Game-to-game, we are improving so we will get better – hopefully we can show our defensive qualities in the next game.

"It was a very important result for us having got three points away from home," the 21 year-old added of last weekend's win in west London. 

"Both sides are at the bottom end unfortunately, so there was a bit of pressure going into the game. The manager calmed us down and told us to go out and play our normal game. 

"That's what we did, and we came out on top."

Clyne has started all 12 of Saints' top-flight games this season, and says he is relishing the opportunity to play regularly at a higher level after his July switch from Crystal Palace.

"It's been tough because the Premier League is a lot harder than the Championship," he said as he assessed his start to life at St Mary's. 

"Players are quicker, faster and stronger so it's been difficult for me. It's been a challenge, but I'm warming to it and getting better. 

"I just want to improve as a player, and I feel like I've been doing that.

"I'm getting the experience of playing against world-class players in the league, and that's only going to make me better. I'm enjoying my time here."

Sunday's visit of Newcastle is the first of two consecutive home games for Saints, with Clyne hopeful that positive results over the next week will help take his team out of the relegation zone.

"I believe our team has enough good-quality players to get us out of the bottom three," he insisted. 

"Hopefully we can add to the win at QPR and get some more results in. If we want to get ourselves up the league, we need to get results – especially at home. 

"I hope we can get another three points with the home fans behind us and cheering us on."

A win on Sunday would take Saints to within three points of their opponents, who have had a mixed start to the season having finished in fifth place last year.

And Clyne says the Magpies' indifferent form is an indicator of how closely-matched the teams in the Premier League are.

"It is a bit of a surprise," he said when questioned about Newcastle's run of five games without a win. 

"They've got quality players and they did very well last season, but this is the Premier League so every game is a tough one. 

"Anything can happen – if you can get a win then you can get yourself out of there, but if you start losing then you can find yourself at the bottom."

Click here to watch a video interview with Clyne on Saints Player

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