SAM Allardyce fears Newcastleâ€™s players could soon develop a â€˜paranoiaâ€™ about playing anywhere other than at St Jamesâ€™s Park should the clubâ€™s dismal record on the road fail to improve.
Saturdayâ€™s 2-1 defeat at Reading means Newcastle have picked up just 4 points out of an available 15 points on their travels this season â€“ with the clubâ€™s last three away fixtures all having been defeats.
Having seen his side perform so well at home, Allardyce is unable to explain why the team has become like Jekyll and Hyde, great at home but woeful away from St. James’ Park.
Sam Allardyce – Newcastle’s away form causing Sam some problems
But the 53-year-old is concerned that, should he fail to discover the answer soon, Newcastleâ€™s travel sickness could turn into a full-blown phobia as he talked to the Newcastle Journal this morning:
â€œWe donâ€™t want to get paranoid about it but we have to do better,â€ â€œI donâ€™t detect paranoia at the moment, but the longer that it goes on, the harder it becomes to turn around.â€
â€œThis result means that we will get even edgier as time goes on because weâ€™re still not able to get a result away from home. We have to learn to take something from these games and build our confidence.â€
â€œHad we drawn this game, it would have given us some confidence. But we didnâ€™t and Iâ€™m getting concerned about it. Our home form has been great, but the inconsistencies are a big problem, and itâ€™s something we have to turn around because itâ€™s a huge concern.”
“Itâ€™s something that we must work harder at.â€
Michael Duberryâ€™s own goal appeared to have gifted Newcastle their first point on the road since August 26. But Shane Longâ€™s dramatic late effort restored a lead that Dave Kitson had initially given Reading.
â€œItâ€™s soul destroying when you throw it away,â€ â€œWhether we deserved it or not â€“ and perhaps we didnâ€™t â€“ we had a point. The point would have been great for us.”
â€œAt least we would have gone up the road with something, something we havenâ€™t done for a long time. It (Longâ€™s goal) was a real killer and Iâ€™m so disappointed.”
“You need to have that resilience when youâ€™re not at home and, when you donâ€™t, you make mistakes and you get punished. Weâ€™ve got to become a side that goes back to basics and works out how to stop our opponents from playing.â€
Claudio CaÃ§apa and Habib Beye challenged for the same ball and, with neither having won it, Jose Enrique then allowed Long to snatch all 3 points for Reading by planting the ball high past Shay Given. Newcastleâ€™s new back line all contributed to that terrible second goal and they were left in no doubt as to their managerâ€™s feelings.
â€œIf you concede stupid goals like that, youâ€™re not going to deserve anything,â€ â€œIt was a stupid mistake, a basic thing. Thatâ€™s two more goals weâ€™ve conceded and unless we stop, we wonâ€™t win games.”
“We killed ourselves with that goal. Itâ€™s such a basic situation to deal with but we didnâ€™t deal with it and we lost. It was another disappointing performance and another disappointing result.â€
If we are do anything this season we cannot continue to struggle on our travels and this deficiency has now overshadowed recent achievements at St Jamesâ€™s Park. Sam continued:
â€œWeâ€™ve done fantastic at home, we look great there,â€ â€œBut away from home we donâ€™t look very clever.”
“We have to get players who perform well on a consistent basis, week in week out, not one week okay, the next week not so good.â€
Well said Sam. When Newcastle scored their equalizer, or should we say when Reading (Duberry) put us back on level terms, we had been outplayed by the home side. But with just 15 minutes to play we could have got a point out of the game. By that time we had Milner and Zog penetrating down the wings and if any team was to score a second we thought it would be Newcastle.
If we could have pressed and scored a goal we could have done a dramatic smash and grab raid â€“ getting all 3 points having been completely outplayed on the day. We didnâ€™t deserve any points but as Sam said â€“ we should have at least accepted the point that was offered to us.
Good teams â€“ with 15 minutes to go in a similar situation â€“ would have snatched all 3 points â€“ even though none was deserved. Just to finish on an appropriate note, there was a great TV shot right at the end of the game showing Sam rubbing his face with his hands – he looked like he hadn’t slept for a couple of nights and to say the least – didn’t look good. After his talk after the game we suspect a number of his players didn’t feel too well either. 😀
But let’s keep things in perspective – better things lie ahead – we hopeÂ Â 😀
Comments very welcome.