Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark has admitted to the Chronicle that his side’s match against Aston Villa changed after Roberto Di Matteo’s side put Rudy Gestede on.
Gestede had started the match on the bench, with Jonathan Kodjia preferred to start up-front.
However, the former Blackburn Rovers man was brought in on the 63rd minute, when Villa were behind in the contest, and his impact was obvious.
The Claret and Blues started swinging balls into the box with Gestede on the pitch, and his presence caused all sorts of issues to Newcastle’s back line.
In the end, Villa managed to come back to claim a point through a late Aaron Tshibola header.
And Clark, who left Villa to join Newcastle in the summer, said: “We knew it would be a tough game coming down here and the quality they have got.
“In the second half when they were pushing on we got sloppy in our play and maybe that was a fair result in the end.
“They put Rudy Gestede up front at the end and we knew they would come flying in.
“They had a period for five or 10 minutes when they had so many corners.
“We were unfortunate not to hold out but full credit to Villa, they came on strong second half and maybe the draw was a fair result.”
Villa’s draw with Newcastle has given them a credible point, but Di Matteo’s men have not started the new campaign well.
Villa are currently in 17th place in the Championship table, and they still have only won once in the league.
Newcastle, meanwhile, have started the new campaign in solid form - and currently lurk just outside the automatic promotion spots, but three defeats in nine games asks its own questions.