Shay – We’re Working on Clean Sheets

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 doesn’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, N’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:

“A few things have been said about Sam Allardyce’s teams not playing attractive attacking football,” “But we’ve scored three goals in each of our last three (home) games, that’s as good as anything the so-called ‘Entertainers’ could have done.

“We’re scoring a lot of goals, especially at home and that’s very important for the fans. We were poor at home last season and we certainly didn’t score enough goals so it’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.”

“It 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. We’re only one point behind Chelsea who is seventh and things are going well, particularly at home.”

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 – 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 – 6 games – since we kept one and you can bet that will be Sam’s number one priority against reading on Saturday. A 1-0 win would be just great.

Shay continued:

“It’s a shame we haven’t kept a clean sheet again (against Spurs), but that is something we’re working on.” “The 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, it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

“As 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 we’ll get better.”

“The new boys need to settle and they need to get used to playing with each other. That’s very important when it comes to building a defensive unit.”

“I’ve been pleased with how quickly the new players are settling because it isn’t easy to come to a new country and a city like Newcastle where people are so passionate about football. It’s a new style of football for a lot of the new players, especially in defence, but they’re doing alright.”

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.

Shay said:

“I’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 hasn’t been very successful so far but I’m working on it.”

“A few of the lads don’t speak much English at all, but that will get better the longer they are here. The good thing is, we’ve got players like Cacapa who have been successful in France for five years and he’s come in and done extremely well.”

“He reads the game so well and that doesn’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.”

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. That’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.

10 comments so far

  • Toon Chicken

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #1

    Great article Ed. Exciting times at the Toon!

    Did you know that we are OFFICIALLY the 11th best team in Europe – just 1 place behind Man U!

    Check it out…

  • Brisbane Mag

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #2

    Good win against Spurs, now we need a clean sheet and 3 points against Reading on Saturday…..

  • yemozone

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #3

    Is the site an official site

  • Toon Chicken

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #4

    don’t think it’s “official” but they have used the same calculations that UEFA do to work out the coefficients that determine seedings in European competitions.

  • indian toon

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #5

    top 11 or anything , all we want is a good top six finish this season , and a good run in the fa cup..

  • evildick

    Oct 25, 2007 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #6

    clean sheet would be nice, but i’d prefer a win!

  • Len

    Oct 25, 2007 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #7

    Entertaining link KFC, thanks. I notice Smogs are 28th and Spuds 45th which is about where they will finish in the league.

  • Johann

    Oct 25, 2007 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #8

    Are you kidding me? Are some of you in love with Shay Given? Stop making excuses for him. Great keepers don´t need to get used to their defenders by playing games. You get used to in training. And it only plays a really small part that is getting used to defenders. Its basicly to know what the defenders do in hard situation and he has long since realized that. And sorry but I just can´t see us getting a clean sheet with Given in goal. He is even less commanding of the area than he was last year. It´s sometimes like he´s scared. Just try to notice what he does when crosses come in(not crosses that come straight at him).

  • Sinead

    Oct 25, 2007 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #9

    No, just most people don’t despise him like you.
    You don’t think t
    Everyone has to get used to who their playing with. It’s kinda hard though if the 4 don’t speak English.

    “Great keepers don´t need to get used to their defenders by playing games. You get used to in training”

    Yes they do and what one day at training they can speak English but in the match they can??

    “And it only plays a really small part that is getting used to defenders”

    Obviously there’s going to be some difficulty if Given tells Cacapa that leave the ball to him and theirs miss comunication and both do.

    “sorry but I just can´t see us getting a clean sheet with Given in goal”, you just don’t want him to keep a clean sheet in goals. I’d actually say that you’d rather see Newcastle loose instead of Given play a good game..wait you’ve addmited that before.

    sorry but I just can´t see us getting a clean sheet with Given in goal,,asorry but I just can´t see us getting a clean sheet with Given.

    year. It´s sometimes like he´s scared. Just try to notice what he does when crosses..and cue the melodramatics, I swear if you come up with it having to do with getting injured I’ll go mad.

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