Kevin Keegan is busy building up the confidence of the players he inherited from Sam Allardyce, as he tries to get the best out of the squad, through the end of this season.
Claudio Cacapa – experienced defender looking solid at the back now
Keegan has singled out Claudio Cacapa for praise and rightly so since he had two strong games for Newcastle United against top side Arsenal, and has often looked the part this season.
Keegan said today:
â€œWe conceded six goals over the two games with Arsenal, but I felt we defended pretty well.â€ â€œWhen you play Arsenal, they donâ€™t attack you in one particular area. They attack you all over the pitch.”
â€œIf you look at the scores, you might think the center halves didnâ€™t do a particularly good job â€“ but I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s the case for either Claudio or Steven Taylor.â€
â€œClaudio played as he can do against Arsenal, which is very well. If we had signed Jonathan Woodgate Claudio would have probably have been the one to suffer, and he has responded in the right manner.â€
It’s true that Taylor and Cacapa have looked good together and with Abdoulaye Faye back from African Cup of Nations duty, we doubt that Kevin will change the central defense. But we’d like to see both Faye and Beye back in the team. Beye at right back and Faye as central defensive midfield, where he has looked dominant in his last two games for the Magpies.
The only real bad game Cacapa has had was against Portsmouth – which is a well documented nightmare for the Brazilian, but he took his mistakes like a man and has fought his way back like a true professional.
He seems to be getting used to the English way of playing football and physically he can take it like the best of him, and even seems to relish it these days. He also reads the game as good as anybody.
We still have high hopes that Claudio can come through, and of course Steven Taylor is looking better and better as the season goes by. We need both of them to keep playing well and they’ve looked really good together, while under considerable pressure in the last couple of games. Not only is Steven playing well, but he’s providing the guts, pride and Geordie determination that we need right now.
All that’s needed for Steven is to sign him up on a nice 5 year deal – he’s a really outstanding talent, and his father Alf has wisely ensured he keeps his feet firmly on the ground. Steven is playing as good as he’s ever played right now.
Newcastle United need to have him sign a new contract, and the sooner that happens, the better for all concerned.