Steve Harper, who will be in the Newcastle goal during November, as Shay Given recovers from yet another groin injury, hopes Saturdayâ€™s woeful display at home is just a one off.
Weâ€™re sure lots of fans hope that too, because the display on Saturday was just not good enough â€“ full stop.
Steve Harper – Saturday’s performance was a one off
Harper told the Evening Chronicle today:
â€œAgainst Portsmouth everything that could go wrong did go wrong.â€ We have to put this behind us because we have a monumental game coming up against Sunderland.â€
â€œWeâ€™re devastated and shell-shocked with the start we made.â€ â€œTo concede three in 12 minutes is something you just cannot do, especially against Portsmouth.â€
â€œYou canâ€™t give any team a head-start and we gave them a terrific start.â€ â€œWe had worked all week on shots from long range, but the first goal was a wonder goal. I didnâ€™t actually see him make contact, but I donâ€™t think anybody would have got anywhere near to saving it.â€
â€œWe then gave two poor goals away, and at 3-0 down at home you have Mount Everest to climb.â€
Harper tried to take a little comfort from the fact Michael Owenâ€™s deflected shot past David James at least gave Newcastle some hope, but they just couldn’t get that all important second goal.Â Then Steven Taylor inability to clear Kranjcar’s free kick, was another poor goal to give away, but that was the match, as Newcastle went 4-1 down.
â€œFor the next hour we showed character and got back into the game.â€ â€œWe were the best side and never in danger until they scored their fourth.â€
â€œIt was the sort of delivery that we work on where any touch makes it hard from a free-kick and unfortunately Tayls touched it past me.â€
â€œWe said at the break if we got the next goal it would be game on, but we couldnâ€™t get it.â€
Harper then assured the fans the defeat was hopefully just a one-off, as he continued:
â€œI remember the Man United game when we lost 6-2, the Fulham game when we lost 4-1 and Birmingham 5-1.â€ â€œThese games are very few and far between over the years.â€
â€œBut when you are three down at home itâ€™s no fun. To get back to 3-1 and looking to kick on we then concede an own goal which finished us off.â€ â€œIt was one of those days and one to forget for everybody.â€
Every Newcastle player should do his talking on the field on Saturday, at the Stadium of Light. The players owe it to the fans, and only a win at Sunderland, who are below Newcastle in the league, will be good enough this coming Saturday.