Belfast Telegraph

Ben Arfa wants lead role

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is determined to play a key role in the Magpies' bid for European football.

The 25-year-old Frenchman briefly gave Alan Pardew's side hope of a second successive victory at Arsenal on Monday night with a 14th-minute opener, only to see Robin van Persie cancel out his strike within seconds to set the stage for Thomas Vermaelen's injury-time winner.

Ben Arfa told the club's official website, www.nufc.co.uk: "We are very disappointed because we thought we had the draw, but in the last minute they scored. Everyone in the dressing room was disappointed, and it is always worse to lose in the last minute like we did."

He added: "It was a good goal from me, but we lost, so it doesn't mean anything. I am very disappointed and in the next game, we have to win.

"We have to keep our heads up and look at what is in front of us. This game has gone now and we have to learn from it and move on.

"We have 10 games left now and we have to be prepared to achieve something at the end of the season."

Ben Arfa will hope he gets the opportunity to prove on a sustained basis that he is more than a luxury player after a fine second-half display as a substitute in the 1-1 derby draw with Sunderland and his early strike in north London.

He said: "I was very happy to start and I am very happy to be on the pitch.

"I hope to do much more for the team when I am on the pitch. I am doing everything I can.

"I want to start games - every player wants that. Now I start it is good, I hope I keep going to play more and more for the team between now and the end of the season."

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