Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clark: I Feel I'm a Better Player since I Joined the Magpies - and That Is All Down to the Boss

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clark: I Feel I'm a Better Player since I Joined the Magpies - and That Is All Down to the Boss

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER Chief sports writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com @lee_ryder

CIARAN Clark feels Rafa Benitez has made him into a better player since leaving Aston Villa to join Newcastle United's promotion bid.

The Republic of Ireland defender has been missed badly since picking up a knee injury in the 3-1 loss to Fulham.

His absence has coincided with two other defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town with Newcastle's title hopes badly dented over the Easter period.

N o w United fans are hoping Clark will be back to line up against Preston North End after returning to training last week. However, Clark says he is indebted to Benitez after a solid season in the heart of Newcastle's defence.

The 27-year-old said: "It has been a total change for me. He is a real man-manager and he wants you to be involved and learn.

"He wants to teach you and improve you as a player.

"If he does that then it improves the team.

"He works hard on defensive shape and positional stuff.

"It is something I have probably not had as a It has been change is a real player in my career.

"I feel like I am learning so much and hopefully I can keep doing it."

wants involved Ciaran " After several seasons of struggle with Villa, Clark admitted it felt good to be part of a winning side for the majority of the campaign.

He added: "I feel like I have learned more about the game.

"To have that winning feeling and the confidence it brings shows on the pitch.

"Hopefully I can keep playing the way I have been. It is a real positive place. We are all on the training pitch and on match days we have confidence.

"You can see that from results and the performances we have put it in.

"Rafa Benitez keeps everybody positive and drills into you not to be complacent.

"That is the key really. …

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