In the last 20 minutes of the first half Newcastle stretched Birmingham to the very limit. They hit the woodwork at least twice, missed two attempts at goal from one yard out, and in the end had to settle for a penalty to go in all square at 1-1 after 45 minutes.
Charles N’Zogbia – had a great attacking game on Saturday
Sam rightly says that just isnâ€™t good enough, and we have to put home more of our chances when they come. The game should really have been wrapped up at the interval and it wasnâ€™t and Birmingham came back well in the second half to make things really difficult for the Magpies.
â€œWe can ill afford at St Jamesâ€™s Park not to win games when weâ€™ve got the opportunity to do so,â€ â€œThatâ€™s where we have to get more ruthless.â€
â€œWhen youâ€™ve hit the sort of levels and attempts on goal weâ€™ve had, particularly in the first half, you have to point out to the lads where the ruthless end of it lies. Then of course not giving away silly goals makes a big difference in turning draws into wins.â€
â€œIt was a worry that we had to rely on a penalty to get back in it. Itâ€™s great creating the amount of opportunities we do, but at the moment weâ€™re not converting a lot of them.â€
Samâ€™s right there. At least we are creating chances and not putting them home. It would be a lot worse if we werenâ€™t even creating the chances. One of these games weâ€™re going to be 4-0 up at half time by being more ruthless in our finishing and we have quite a few players who can score goals in the team. Charles Nâ€™Zogbia and James Milner both looked good down the left hand side on Saturday and are playing extremely well this season. In fact our three 21 year-olds, James, Charles and Steven Taylor are all playing extremely well right now.
â€œSix months down the line, hopefully people will look back and say this was a big week.â€ Allardyce feels criticisms of Newcastleâ€™s approach this season are unjustified.â€
â€œEveryone keeps going on about this Bolton style, but weâ€™ve never played it since Iâ€™ve been here,â€ â€œWe havenâ€™t got that sort of player.â€
â€œIâ€™ve never been able to buy players to play a certain system, Iâ€™ve always had to go to a football club and pick a system to suit the players. If I wasnâ€™t flexible, I wouldnâ€™t have got where I am today with less money (to spend) than everyone else for most of my career.â€
â€œI came here to get more money to buy more quality players, make a better team and play a better way if thatâ€™s at all possible. But thereâ€™s only one way to play and thatâ€™s to win.â€
And it was clear to the fans that Newcastle have set out to win their last 3 games by attacking the opposition. That even happened at Blackburn at the start of the second half, when it was obvious Newcastle were going for the win. It was exciting to watch the last 20 minutes of the first half and Newcastle looked a great side, but certainly should have had more goals.
But we’ve done very well over the last 3 games and things are certainly starting to look up. And there’s even signs that players, such as Habib Beye, are finally settling in to produce very high level and consistent performances week in and week out.Â And that’s exactly what we need right now.
Comments very welcome.