Former Newcastle United favourite Malcolm Macdonald has singled out Martin Dúbravka for praise following the Magpies' 3-2 Premier League defeat to Manchester United.
Writing for the Chronicle, Macdonald claimed that Dúbravka put in a highly encouraging performance despite the side throwing away a two goal lead after the Magpies stormed to a 2-0 first half display at Old Trafford.
Macdonald wrote: "Martin Dúbravka pulled off a string of super saves yet we still leaked three goals in the last 45 minutes. For the winner Newcastle left two players unmarked in a crowded six-yard box.
"The ball sailed over the head of the first to be headed in by the second, one of the smallest guys on the pitch. Newcastle United are about to receive the best Christmas present possible – or the worst. Because come Santa’s visit the Magpies can either be virtually safe from the dreaded threat of relegation or be doomed.
“Now is their opportunity to collect much-needed points. Now let us think of the alternative. If United don’t gain a good number of points then they can be down, or virtually so, by Christmas."
Newcastle are currently 19th in the league table after eight matches, and have picked up just two points. The Toon Army will be desperate to see their side up their game in the coming weeks, with the threat of relegation already looming large.
Rafael Benítez's side will look to return from the international break with a big win, and their next match is at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. With their toughest set of fixtures to come in the new year, Newcastle will have to start stringing some wins together if they're to stand any chance of avoiding a disastrous slip back down into the Championship.
Meanwhile, a report has claimed that Benítez is wary of being sacked by club owner Mike Ashley. The controversial businessman incurred the wrath of the Newcastle faithful by purchasing department store House of Fraser for £90m in the summer, despite not suitably bolstering the Magpies squad.