Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harper Happy with Level of Commitment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harper Happy with Level of Commitment

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

STEVE Harper believes Newcastle United have learnt a valuable Championship lesson after their spirited victory over a typically-hardworking Sheffield United, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Harper was Newcastle's hero on Monday night with a string of fine saves as the home side frantically threw men forward in search of an equaliser. But the keeper was happier with the team's collective endeavour than his own performance, as he insisted the defeats at Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe had shaken any complacency out of them.

The Bramall Lane win lifted Newcastle back to the top of the table and Harper argued they would stay there as long as they maintained the same level of commitment they showed in that victory.

"I thought we deserved to win," said Harper, whose reliability between the posts continues to ensure that Tim Krul remains his number two.

"The shift we put in was fantastic. We did what we were doing at the start of the season and that's matching the opposition for effort and commitment.

"We didn't do that against Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe. "We gave sloppy goals away, but we've got back to doing what we have to do in this division to stay at the top. "We have learned our lesson. The first half at Forest was probably as poor as we've been. We played pretty well at Scunthorpe but gave away two bad goals.

"I think the Sheffield United game was an example of people covering for each other and working for each other. Even when you're not playing well it's vital we have that togetherness and unity. I don't think it has ever gone away, there was just a few things had gone wrong.

"It's well documented that it's a fantastic dressing room and we have a lot of individuals who have high standards, and demand those standards are met.

"If they don't reach them they let people know about it. We got back to those standards on Monday night in terms of the effort and hard work needed away from home."

The 1-0 win, secured thanks to Ryan Taylor's deflected shot early in the second-half, ended a run of two successive away defeats, allowing their promotion rivals to close the gap at the top of the table. …

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