Shay Given, who had a confident game against Tottenham on Monday night, has been talking to the Newcastle Journal today about the Newcastle team, and doesnâ€™t seem to think Sam Allardyce teams are boring.
Newcastle have scored 3 goals in each of their last 3 home games and the standard of play has been good. And Sam has said he wants to keep the obvious flair from players like Emre, Barton, Nâ€™Zogbia and the like in the side.
Shay Given – getting used to a new back four from last season
Shay talked to Luke Edwards of the Journal this morning:
â€œA few things have been said about Sam Allardyceâ€™s teams not playing attractive attacking football,â€ â€œBut weâ€™ve scored three goals in each of our last three (home) games, thatâ€™s as good as anything the so-called â€˜Entertainersâ€™ could have done.
â€œWeâ€™re scoring a lot of goals, especially at home and thatâ€™s very important for the fans. We were poor at home last season and we certainly didnâ€™t score enough goals so itâ€™s nice to be able to send the fans home happy after a win like we had against Tottenham. I think they are enjoying how things are going and so are we.â€
â€œIt was a good home win and it has put us among the pack which have created a little gap at the top of the table. Weâ€™re only one point behind Chelsea who is seventh and things are going well, particularly at home.â€
Given seems to be getting back to his old form and we were particularly impressed with Shay in the second half when he came out and took some high crosses in great style, which only added to the confidence of the defense. But he knows there are still plenty of things that need to be improved in the defense â€“ including clean sheets.
Shay now has a totally different back line in front of him from last season and Shay needs time, as well as the other players to get used to each other. A clean sheet is now way overdue â€“ 6 games â€“ since we kept one and you can bet that will be Samâ€™s number one priority against reading on Saturday. A 1-0 win would be just great.
â€œItâ€™s a shame we havenâ€™t kept a clean sheet again (against Spurs), but that is something weâ€™re working on.â€ â€œThe defence is going okay, but we know we need to improve and there are a lot of things we can still work on. But considering the number of players from different nationalities at the back, itâ€™s going to take a little bit of time.â€
â€œAs a goalkeeper it can be difficult trying to get your message across, but we are trying to improve our communication at the back and when the language barrier is broken down a little bit weâ€™ll get better.â€
â€œThe new boys need to settle and they need to get used to playing with each other. Thatâ€™s very important when it comes to building a defensive unit.â€
â€œIâ€™ve been pleased with how quickly the new players are settling because it isnâ€™t easy to come to a new country and a city like Newcastle where people are so passionate about football. Itâ€™s a new style of football for a lot of the new players, especially in defence, but theyâ€™re doing alright.â€
Shay is also full of praise for Claudio Cacapa, and the influence the former Lyon captain has had at the club. The 31-year-old Brazilian scored his first goal for Newcastle against Spurs on Monday night, and Claudio has already said he thinks coming to Newcastle was a fantastic move for him and his family.
â€œIâ€™ve been trying to learn Spanish to help with the communication side of things, but I tried to speak to Cacapa in Spanish and had forgotten they speak Portuguese in Brazil. He just gave me a blank look. It obviously hasnâ€™t been very successful so far but Iâ€™m working on it.â€
â€œA few of the lads donâ€™t speak much English at all, but that will get better the longer they are here. The good thing is, weâ€™ve got players like Cacapa who have been successful in France for five years and heâ€™s come in and done extremely well.â€
â€œHe reads the game so well and that doesnâ€™t mean he has to be fluent in English. He is a calming influence at the back and you can see why he won so many titles with Lyon.â€
The goal Newcastle gave away on Monday night was a poor one when Darren Bent seemed completely unmarked when a ball came into the box and he subsequently hit the post with a header and Robbie Keane was only too willing to put the ball past his Ireland vice captain for Spurs’ goal. But apart from that the back line looked very good indeed and there has to be confidence that these boys can build a solid defensive unit for the club. Thatâ€™s especially true when you add young Steven Taylor and David Rozehnal into the mix.
But the next test is Saturday and we look forward to a clean sheet. If we can do that we feel sure that we can conjure up at least one goal to take all 3 points and then Newcastle will be buzzing with excitement once more.
Comments very welcome.