Big Sam Builds Solid Foundation First

Sam Allardyce talked to the Journal this morning about Saturday’s performance and he insists that the first thing you need to do is build a solid foundation in defense.

Most good (great) teams start by becoming hard to beat by building up their defense and then have strikers who can score the goals and midfielders who can both defend and create the chances for the forwards.


Sam Allardyce – building a foundation on which success will come

We have almost achieved a big improvement in defense especially id we capture Faye and Belletti this week – as is being widely reported this morning.

Here’s what Big Sam had to say this morning:

“The team that wins the league tends to have the most clean sheets,” “It’s about more than creating goals in the Premier League, and keeping a clean sheet is important.”

“You always need that before you score. People perceive that as negative but it’s not. It’s the biggest part of being a free-flowing attacking team.”

“ If you do the right things in the right areas you end up nullifying the opposition and you become creative from there. If the front players know that the back players are doing well, the service becomes better.”

Sam is saying that his first priority is strengthening the defense – once you have done that you can move on to become a lot more creative. In the summer he’s strengthened our defense and hopefully by the end of August he will have brought in Rozehnal, Geremi, Enrique, Cacapa, Faye and Belletti who are all good defenders. Six good players who can all play in defense – not bad.

Sam went on:

“What you have got to do is make sure you don’t lose,”

“That was something Newcastle did last season. We’re undefeated in two games and we’ve got our first clean sheet. The quicker we can get into double figures in clean-sheet terms, the quicker we can get into the top half of the table.”

“Although we didn’t perform as well as we would have liked going forward (against Villa), we were always in a position to capitalize on a mistake – especially with Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins on the pitch.”

“I understand the fans might have gone home disappointed, but they shouldn’t be. If we stick together, we will win more games than we lose.”

Good words from Sam. He cannot do everything at once and it’s obvious he knows he will need to produce more free flowing football in the future. If, before January. we can have a vastly improved defense – which is certainly looking possible – that’s an excellent first step along the way to becoming great again.

Comments always welcome.

25 comments so far

  • stjames

    Aug 20, 2007 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #1

    Hi Ed.
    Is it possible that the link via contact at the head of the page is not working?

  • Edd Case

    Aug 20, 2007 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #2

    BS already making excuses.
    Im happy though, because he’s right and he’s not hiding behind injury this, injury that, like previous managers.

  • big pea ov the weab

    Aug 20, 2007 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #3

    am not so sure on that performance i thought martins and viduka were crap + carr is just the pure worst

  • Lamesley Mag

    Aug 20, 2007 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #4

    The Newcastle defence has always been poor, even in KKs days, so let’s hope BSA can improve that part of our game.

    He’s started off well; i.e. purchased many experienced defenders to go with a midfield and forward line that many Premier League sides would be proud.

    The 2 Villa CBs looked really good and would’nt mind either as part of a Newcastle set-up as BSA continues to build a decent squad at Newcastle.

  • jeff

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #5

    Lets look at the bigger picture 4 points in first 2 games whats all the negativity?Second game in and we keep our first clean sheet…..Everyone was delighted with the victory at Bolton rightfully so,ok we havent scored at home yet again but at least we kept a clean sheet whereas in seasons gone by we wouldve fell apart and ended up losing a game like that.Christ give Sam time,there has been alot of changes so it will take time,but one thing that hasnt took long is for the team to defend more solid.At least we dont let teams roll all over us these days,the goals will come instead of being critical of newcastle why not just say the two teams cancelled eachother out,cos thats what they did….credit to villa they put up a fight and werent going to be any pushovers either….If after 5 more games at home and we havent scored then we can ask questions…I just think up here we are always too quick to judge and be critical instead of giving them time.

  • jason

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #6

    Quite a depressing game and the home form is worrying i.e lack of goals.
    I know its early doors in the season but teams like villa should be beaten at our place,they created more chances our play reminded me of the football Roeder produced last season.
    We do need to build a defence I agree but we don’t want a team that just defends and nicks the odd goal..I wasnt a solid backline to contain teams and a fierce strike force and midfield to damage the opposition.

  • dave bulman

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #7

    fans need to give time to sam and team and stop embarassing rest of fans by booing.we have 4 points from 2 games which is a good start,do the boo boys forget last year and how easy we were to beat.we look solid and hard to beat and got a point against a good organised villa team.we still have emre, barton and duff to come back to add creativity,should put geremi at right back to free up position for one of those.stick to a 4-4-2.i cant understand fans booing on saturday and was annoyed to see that happen,cant expect miracles sraight away,sam not making excuses,hes just talking the truth.this is going to be 1 of the most competitive premierships,alot of teams have improved this year,i think we have a good chance of top six finish.

  • Super Shearer

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #8

    Jeff – spot on mate, we as Toon fans are often far to fast to judge and as a result do not give the team and the manager the support that they desserve. Sam is building and perhaps this season is more about getting the team to gel and understand what he wants before we start believing we can win things. Give the boys a chance and I firmly believe that Sam will make us into a very competative team.

  • Bob

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #9

    I agree with Jeff, let’s look at the positives – we got a clean sheet, the team worked hard and got a draw, despite a poor attacking performance.

  • jason

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #10

    I think if the paying fans want to Boo then they have every right to boo if the football or commitment is not there.Expectations are very high and that is why the players are paid the high wages they are A)to perform well,B)compete and (C) ultimatly win games and land cups and titles.
    When the going gets tuff they have to expect a backlash..someone mentioning the creative force that is emre and duff…hmmm lets be honest neither have performed well for us so I would not expect much creative flair anytime soon from those two players…both I feel have never impressed in a toon shirt.

  • jeff

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #11

    I cant believe after 1 win 1 draw a clean sheet the boo boys are already out…well that says one thing to me….they are NOT supporters of newcastle united..If they are not willing to give the team a chance to gel together and to get behind the lads Id say to all those boo boys dont go back to any home games..2 games in and well I cant believe they are booing already…They say we have class support,well some idiots certainly let the rest of the faithful down badly…..Like a few have already said on here,we are a team in change lets all get behind them and support them like we should because things dont happen over night….It makes me laugh 4 points still unbeaten boo boys have started who do they think we are a club like man utd??? We havent won nowt for donkey’s years so why do people seem to think we would play class and win every game all of a sudden….

  • jeff

    Aug 20, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #12

    Jason I would agree with you if Roeder or Souness was still in charge…But I think after 1 win and 1 draw and a clean sheet you cant say the lads are not commited….Like I said earlier Give credit to Villa…..They came with a game plan and it paid off….But also newcastle didnt concide either so they cancelled eachother out.

  • steve

    Aug 20, 2007 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #13

    Because of the way we beat Bolton, expectations on Saturday were always going to be high and rightly sob but lets put it this way Bolton have played 3 lost 3 we beat a very poor Bolton team who will find life tough this season, lets take it one game at a time and see what happens, forget about Europe or a cup lets just concentrate on supporting the team and enjoy every minute of what could be one of our best seasons since sir bobby!!! Keep doing what your doing sam!

  • Obafan

    Aug 20, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #14

    Jeff you’re completely spot on. Very good comments. We have 4/6 and can equalize Chelsea and Liverpool if we win our 3rd game. Our start is way better than Man Utd and Spurs (cause thay won now, but IMO they will struggle again the next couple of weeks). So if we are complaining what would they do.

    @ Jason: if you think booing players is good then you’re completely wrong. Why are they booing, because they don’ know a thing about football and they think we will every game this season with 3 or 4 goals a difference. We had a clean sheet and picked up a point after the game and then you say booing can appear. Come on, what are you thinking about.
    YOu’re reight that teams like Villa should be beaten at home, but that is when the team is completely gelled and if everyone knows the system BS wants to play in. Now it just is too short that he is working with the group to have everything in the right place (system, defence, attack, creativity). Let’s give them time to gel and to play in the BS system and then we will see what we are capable of and everybody will be surprised that we will do fantastic in the EPL.

    But for now be reasonable and be patient.

  • brian

    Aug 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #15

    The club is not just in transition it is still work in progress in the sense we are still seeking players. For years we have had a poor defense, so SA is rightly concentrating on that – if he can get a Deco type player in then I am sure he will. I will be delighted if come the end of this year we are in 6th because I expect us to be far better in the second half of the season – injuries permitting.

    It may well be your ‘human right’ to go and boo, but personally I feel it is also the vast majority, of thinking, loyal and knowlegable supporters rights to tell those that boo what complete and utter pratts they are – they discredit the club as much as Dyer/Bellamy/Bowyer’s antics ever did

  • jason

    Aug 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #16

    Good points from all of you guys today and after Bolton I agree with expectations running high a little bit when Bolton are very average.
    I just want them to be the great team they always could be and strive for greatness.
    How about keeping the Boos until after the final whistle…only jokin : )

  • Graham

    Aug 20, 2007 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #17

    The difference between us this season against last? we would have lost against villa last season. All the best teams build from the back and as for excuses (cant be bothered to scroll back up and find out which loser said it) 2 games in and unbeaten – why does sam need to make excuses for that afetr a summer of upheaval? How many times towards the end of august have we been able to say were unbeaten for gods sake? get a grip of reality!

  • michael

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #18

    I don’t see how buying a little bantamweight portugese brazilian tottering towards his thirties for the price of a small african nation will improve the newcastle united 1st XI. Baptista would be my choice. Quick as lightening, not afraid to get stuck in and able to kick a ball through a brick wall, reinforced with lead cement and braced with railway sleepers as thick as Roberto Carlos’ thighs!

  • Tom_Toon

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #19

    Except Baptista is an absolutely wank playmaker, he is originally a DM and now a ST. He good i CAm from his striking and dfefencive capabilities, but a rubbish playmaker.

    Chidi Odiah for RB! I would say Blsingwa but now they want 12mil hes not worth that, and i am a Portugal supporter.

  • SAM

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #20

    Ok the result was disappointing cos I hoped we would play good football and go on to win the match.

    BUT we must consider how other managers view playing against Newcastle. O’Neil simply set a fast winger up against Carr and told the team to use this as a simple outlet to start every attack and releive any pressure.

    The truth is we have tightened things up through the middle of the park but we still have a lack of pace at fullback. Until we have an alternative to Carr then every decent organised team is going to target him both with pace and also in the air from crosses/corners.

    Last point. Our midfield had no creativity. This was disappointing but I do think BSA has already addressed this problem by buying Barton. Barton spreads out the play well with crisp passing and also supports the attacks and has a good shot.

  • michael

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #21


    If we take 2 points a game on average thats 76points. Since the Premiership was concieved in the 92-93 season 76 points would have got you 3rd place 6 times, 4th 5 times 2nd place 3 times and won the league in the 96/97 season (We were runner up). The mosts point we ever scored was 78 (After throwing away a 12 point lead, you might remember that!) under King Kev, and under Sir Bobby the maximum we scored was 68.
    Until the “special one” arrived at Chelsea mid eighties would guarantee you the title now we’re taking ninetie plus. But that leaves a huge gap until third and fourth and given the increased competition caused by the new TV deal cash injection the league will be more competitive throughout, expect that mid-eighties will probably win the league and 70 will probably get you CL spot.

    The most goals scored conceded by the winner of the league has been 44 (in the 96/97 season (Memories are so painful!!) when Man Utd beat us for the second time into runner up spot. However since 2002 the winner of the title has never conceded more than 30 goals, in 05-06 Chelsea conceded only 15! By the numbers… Sam has a point!

    LAllardyce logic 1-0 Toon overexpectency

  • michael

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #22

    L Allardyce logic 1-0 Toonarmy overexpectency (Wikipedia, 24mins)

  • michael

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #23

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ UP THERE
    Vidiprinter joke Didn’t really work! Gutted

  • Bosck

    Aug 20, 2007 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #24

    Firstly, in my opinion last season is irrelevant as we had a different manager and vastly different squad, so i would say that we have not scored in 1 home game this season and leave it at that. I know you can count all the others from the end of last season but as i said they were in a completely different set up and situation and i do not think it is right to lump them together, as it reflects badly on allardyce even though saturday was his only home league game in charge. as someone else has said give it a few more home games, then, if after say 5 games at home under allardyce we still havent scored then we may have a problem, which i dont believe will be the case.

    Allardyce and O’neill are 2 of the best tacticians and highly proficient at arranging there teams to nulify an opposition so it came as no real surprise to me that it was a draw as each team nulified the other.

    i always find the argument that a team should win because the players are paid a huge amount of money to make very little sense, as the players on the other side are also paid to win so someone has to miss out! As long as the players look like they are giving 100% then that is important, which i believe to be the case on saturday, its a fact of life that sometimes you’ll have an off day and things wont go to plan but as long as they are giving maximum effort to do well then that is all that can be expected.

    I am personally very happy with 4 points from the 1st 2 games, as villa are in an almost identical situation to us and will imo be challenging for a similar point in the league. we are in 6th, 3 points off 2nd place with a game in hand, thats better than 1 of the “big four”, as good as 2 others, and if we were to play our game in hand and win, then we would have had as good or better start than any of the “big four”, so i’m happy with our start to the season.

  • 9th June

    Aug 21, 2007 at 3:19 AM

    Comment #25

    Can we give up on the Steve Carr rubbish that is talked on here. He was up against one of the fastest wingers in the premiership on Saturday who would have given any full back a torrid time. The only thing that matters is if he managed to get past him and create an opportunity, he didn’t. You lot have made your mind up about Carr and will write this crap no matter how he plays. I can’t believe people are even talking about Martins & Viduka being crap. I mean, do you think these players should just go out there and play as if they were playing for Brazil againt Workington every week. There are 5 or 6 new faces all trying to adapt, they are playing against a fellow Premiership team with a very tactically astute manager. Really, you lot should go and watch basketball or tiddlywinks or something cause you clearly know sfa about football.


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