November 8, 2012
Clement wants unity
Team Stat Comparison
|Club Brugge||Newcastle United|
|Goals for *||1.7||0.7|
|Goals against *||1.3||1.3|
|Last 5 home||L-D-W-W||D-W-D-D-W|
|Last 5 away||L-L-L-W||L-D-W-L-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Club Brugge | Newcastle United|
Caretaker boss Philippe Clement has called for a united front as Club Brugge attempt to dent Newcastle's Europa League charge.
The Magpies head for the Jan Breydel Stadion sitting at the top of Group D and yet to concede a single goal in their three matches to date.
They will run out to face a club which at the weekend dispensed with the services of manager Georges Leekens, who led them into their 1-0 defeat on Tyneside last month, one of five successive reverses in all competitions which ultimately cost him his job.
Reserve team coach Clement has been asked to take over in the short term, and with a Juliper League trip to Anderlecht awaiting the Belgians at the weekend, he knows there is little time to waste.
He told the club's official website, www.clubbrugge.be: "It will be a challenge, but it's important to fill the gap created by this dismissal.
"I know the players and I know the staff - that buys us some time, because that is of the essence in view of the two games on Thursday and Sunday.''
Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Waregem, which left the club sitting in eighth place in the table, proved the final straw for the Brugge hierarchy.
But when they arrived at St James' Park on October 25, they did so as leaders having just lost for the first time in 11 league outings.
Clement said: "We are now in eighth place, but last week we were still top of the league. The divide is not that big.
"I have gone through times like these as a player too and there is only way to get out of this, and that's working hard to get back on top.''
Their opponents have included forgotten man Xisco among a 20-strong Newcastle party.
The Spaniard, who scored a hat-trick for the club's Under-21s side against Stoke last month, was on the plane along with Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote, who are both likely to feature as they are suspended for Sunday's Barclays Premier League fixture against West Ham.
Yohan Cabaye, who left the field at Liverpool at the weekend with a tight hamstring, has also been included, but James Perch (thigh) is facing up to a month on the sidelines and was left behind along with senior men Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba.