What Keegan Said At Half Time Last Night

Kevin Keegan, to his credit last night, made some tough team selections and finally dropped both Smith and Duff from the starting line up, and decided to play a more attacking 4-3-3 formation, with strikers Owen, Viduka and Martins all fit.


Kevin Keegan – who said Keegan had lost his motivational skills?

It was a good solid and brave move by Keegan and it kind of came off, but only after having to endure a nervous first half where the Magpies looked anything but solid.

But in the second half the players, to their great credit, came out fighting and secured a well deserved draw and almost took all 3points.

This is what Kevin Keegan said after the game:

“We said at half time to the players that if you lose this game to a goal like that without showing a bit more creativity, then I’ve picked the wrong side,”

“And we got a reaction in the second half, which was more like the performance I expected when I picked the side.” “The challenge was finding a performance after conceding a poor goal and the second half was more like it.”

“We showed determination and character away from home. We were the team in the ascendancy after the break, and we might have won it at the end.”

” When you look at the names on our team sheet we should not be down at the bottom, but we are and now we have to get out of it. We’ve got to show another side of our character,”

”It’s a different challenge for a lot of them, but I’ve never doubted them. I have never criticized their attitude and we’ll take the positives from this game.”

It may be that Kevin’s undying belief in his players is starting to pay off. But we still think they owe Kevin an awful lot for his patience, which has been much greater than ours, that’s for sure.

They owe him their best performance of the season this coming Saturday, when we can and should bury Fulham, and really then have a good Saturday night out. It’ll be the first win we can celebrate this year – come on lads you can do it!

Where’s that Newcastle Brown Ale?

Comments welcome.

72 comments so far

  • Charlie Bucket

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #1

    I didn’t see the game last night but I was impressed when I heard the starting line-up. Playing three upfront was a bold move as was dropping Smith and Duff, although the latter was not even on the bench. Was he injured?

    A similar system at home on Saturday against Fulham, maybe with N’Zogbia or Emre just to add a touch more creativity instead of Butt, Geremi or Barton and we could get our first three points since we played them last December.

    Good result, and it suggests things are on the up. Lets see if we can get that Sam Vokes lad in from Bournemouth now 🙂

  • toonhitman

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:43 AM

    Comment #2

    keegan got his tatics wrong last night 4-3-3 we played with no width,then to top it off he took oba off when viduka should of come off he did nothing all night,as for barton he was shite the second half was better we could have nicked it,but 1 point is better than no points…

  • Ian

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #3

    Keegans stupid decision was taking Martins off, Martins and Owen look as if they will work well together. It looks as if it will work as I thought it would, Martins scatters the defense has a go at goal or passes to others and Owen is there to pick up the pieces without being marked out of play.
    I do not understand why Martins is still not viewed as our only way (at present) of winning games, even if he doesnt score himself he is usually involved in some way even if it is simply drawing away some of the opposition’s defense, without Martins on the pitch the other side reamin composed and pretty much know what is going to happen, Owen will be at the front waiting for a pass so they defend against that, with Martins on the pitch their guess is as good as mine to what he may do, Take the long shot? Go it alone? Hold it for a pass? we dont know and they do not know so they cant plan against it, that is when either Martins himself or someone else in the team will get a chance, there are always more shots on goal with Martins out there, dont hack him off otherwise we are back to the type of games while he was away-rubbish.
    One thing with Owen you can always rely on him being in the right place at the right time, ideal to play alongside someone like Martins.
    Viduka looks promising for his first game.

  • Anon

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #4

    Toonhitman, you talk bollox!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Viduka, Martins & Owen up front were outstanding together in the second half because we got the ball to them, first half all three were quiet because Butt & Barton dwelled far too long on the ball in the middle of the park.

    Keegans tactics were spot on!!

    Bare in Mind that only Chelsea have beat Brum at St Andrews this season and last nigth was a bloody good result!!

  • phoonCK

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #5

    Ratings for Newcastle players, with starting points at 5.

    Harper: 6
    safe pair of hands and looked more commanding in handling crosses than Given.

    Beye: 6
    reliable and hard working with occassional over lapping runs.

    Taylor: 6
    partly to blame for the goal conceded. could have challenged for header instead of ball watching. should have done better with his header at goal unchallenged, when M.Taylor hesitated with the cross.

    Faye: 5
    the main culprit for the goal conceded. poor positioning and poor timing of his jumps for most of 1st half, but improved gradually in the 2nd. have to improve or risks being replaced by Cacapa or Diatta.

    Enrique: 7
    just gets better and better for this highly-rated spaniard. one of his best performances for us. strong in challenges and showed he’s no push-over. linked up with the attack well and had a Riise-like shot only to be saved brilliantly by M.Taylor.

    Geremi: 6
    lack of pace and was poor with his deliveries at set-pieces. had one delightfully weighted cross though, only for Faye to mis-time his jump. needs to be more penetrative with his supplies or we can see Milner straight back into the side when he’s back.

    Butt: 7
    impressive especially in 2nd half, showed what he has learnt all this years at Man United. kept the ball well and distribution was good, for the 2nd time this season.

    Barton: 5
    lost the ball far too often. should have been more adventurous and try from outside of the box. a far cry from his Man City days. liked his committed never-say-die attitude though, but that’s just like Smith, isn’t it?

    Martins: 8
    most of our threats came from this little Nigerian. by far our most dangerous player on the field. linked up well with Owen, and played an important role in that equaliser with his sheer determination and that was a tremendous leap for a tiny guy. was surprised with the substitution, tactical reasons maybe. certainly my MOTM (and most of you who polled).

    Owen: 7
    though lost a yard of pace, looked lost when receiving the ball deep and easily robbed of possession by stronger defenders, he still had that striker instinct in him and positioning is great. unlucky not to have scored on the 50th min but was lightning quick to have pounced onto the lose ball with 2 defenders ahead of him. i wasn’t too impressed with him though for wanting to impress too much with Capello watching wtih one instance in the 2nd half where he should have squared the ball back to Martins who was better positioned. nice to see him apologised afterwards.

    Viduka: 7
    showed tremendous ability at holding the ball up and good foot skills, but was guilty with not releasing the ball earlier when he was driving towards the oppositions’ box with 2 defenders breathing down his neck and 1 infront of him, when both Owen and Martins wide on either side of him unmarked. and when he did finally released the ball to Martins, it was too far ahead. seemed to be out of breath towards the end. need to up his match fitness and stay fit if he is to play a part in the relegation battle.

    N’Zogbia: 6
    not much to comment on with only about 10mins of play time. looked dangerous when in possession. preferred him to Geremi, but his desire to play is questionable. hope he’ll stay, he has the potential to be a big player for this club, but it seems he is turning out to be another Jenas, a wantaway player..

    Keegan: 7
    good starting XI, if not the best. at least he showed guts to drop ‘gold dust’ Smith and is probably spot-on at the Martins-N’Zogbia substitution, and its nice to see him walking up to Martins a 2nd time when he’s clearly unhappy. maybe its a telling-off? but i believe Keegan being Keegan, it”ll be more of an explanation of the change rather than a shout at him 🙂

    overall, a good improved 2nd half saw us fighting back to equalise in what many thought would have given up the fight again. no matter what Keegan had said to them in the dugout at half time, he certainly worked his magic as we saw a completely different side out there in the 2nd half, almost thought he had made a 10-men substitution change! 🙂

    Bring on Fulham
    Keep the Faith
    Howay the Lads

  • stantos

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #6

    We showed spirit last night and maybe should have nicked it. With a bit of run I think we’ll be ok. Sooner or later we’ll be giving someone a hiding in a game where everything goes in our favour.

    If that happens against Fulham, Reading and the scum at home we’ll stay up simple as. 38 points will keep us up when you look atn the other teams run in.

    Iv’e been at my lowest over recent weeks but I saw enough last night for me to think we might just be ok.

    Oh and well done KK for having the balls to drop smith and duff, we looked so much better. Martins and Owen starting again on Sat is a must !!!!

    Keep the faith lads !!!!!!

  • Vitorbarbosa

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #7

    We were too cautious in the first half. Playing an attacking strategy/formation but the players are too afraid to go forward. For them, they need to stay back and defense.

    However, when the second half begun, they played like they have nothing to lose and want to enjoy their football. This is when we see the players play some nice short passes, winning 50-50 balls, creating chances.

    I thought Geremi crosses were dangerous. The only problem is all the crosses landed on Birmingham players head.

    First half performance was worse than the Championship standard. I have no idea who invent that way of playing football. No direction, lack movement, didn’t pressure opponent, poor clearances, no creativity, and many more.

    Second half, we showed why we are the Magpies and they are the Brums. Hope Magpies will fly high soon~


    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #8

    I’m happy and I think this was an excellent way to build the win for saturdays game against fulham!!

    Also MARTINS substitution (do not overrate it) was a good motivation – why? Well, imagine how he will go and fight from the first minute on saturday to avoid further substitutions 😉

    And now go and get em on saturday!! 3:0

  • Sandy McNair

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #9

    All in all something to be pround of with confidence being fragile.

    Still better to be had though:
    1. More creativity in midfield (Emre, Zog etc).
    2. Dont sub martins (unless he losses a leg), Duke first, then Owen. Martins must stay on, all 90 mins (nice to see him being so upset that he did not even want to talk to KK)

    Looking forward to fulham game

  • toonhitman

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #10

    anon so keegan was right in keeping viduka on the pitch instead of oba keegans tatics wernt spot on in the first half,in the second half they were much better tho,keegan should have taken barton off and put zog on

  • Doctapaul

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #11

    In the 2nd half we looked up for the fight. In the first we didn’t.

    So all this stuff about who plays, what formation we use, what KK does right or wrong is secondary. It’s important and secondary because every other team in the mini-league at the bottom is fighting 100%. Derby and Sunderland proved that at the weekend.

    We all have our views BUT one thing KK did get last night was his half time chat.

    Let’s hope this is the start of the resurrection and the Light!

  • big pea ov the weab

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #12

    y waz the zog left out i bet he would ov been able to put some decent balls into the box for our 3 strikers to latch on to mabe zog should be in team n that may just be the right team for the fulham game drop gerimi n replace with zog

  • ToonKing

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #13

    i agree with toonhitman, the 433 was’n really good. The 3 “midfielders” were lost and nothing really happened for us.

    In the second half we picked it up a little but tbh it still was pretty average play at best and i don’t understand why everyone is so happy this morning and throwing praises around. We were just a little less shite then before and i’m still more worried then a teenage mom.

  • iain

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #14

    all problems still stem from mf imo.

    look where the move started for brums goal, barton gave the ball away cheaply in there half.

    i hate and detest barton and his performances are a joke. but at least hes out there sort of trying (he still bottles numerous tackles) when emre has ran off and hid.

    keegans getting closer to a decent team

    only still viduka did nowt, the way we are playing we need a targetman who wins headers from balls aimed above his standing height viduka will never do that as he cant jump, so carroll should be brought in imo.

    and get the zog starting he was cutting brum to pieces once he came on.

    team for fulham


    beye faye taylor enrique

    geremi butt zog oba

    owen carroll

    also how is geremi still allowed to take free kicks and corners when an oap in a wheelchair could do better. i laughed when enrique eventually ran over to try and stop geremi wasting another croner by making him play it short. we might as well not bother sending our ch forward the amount of times he hit the first man.

    if there was thing i would let barton do if hes going to play and thats take corners and free kicks.

  • Ian

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #15

    Phoonck, agree with your points for each player.

  • Ian

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #16

    We dont want Martins coming on trying to prove a point after being taken off last night, he is fast enough and tries hard enough for us as it is, I would hate to see him try harder and injure himself, I see no danger at all even against Birmingham without his prescence although Viduka may come back into play eventually-if he is in the right mood and it isnt a bit too cold or..

  • MattyDread

    Mar 18, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #17

    ToonKing – our midfielders are lost no matter what formation we play. In fact, although they are crap, I thought Butt and Barton looked more useful in that lineup than they have yet under Keegan.

  • Spyro

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #18

    My assumption that the fulham match will be like the birmingham one was wrong, simon davies has came out basically saying they are going to frustrate us and try and get the crowd on the teams back, which means 10 men behind the ball until the 70th minute and then try nick a late goal.

  • John

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #19

    same again for Saturday. I would’nt change a thing..These guys played there hearts out in the 2nd half and anyone on here critisiing them should be ashamed of themselves..

    What more do you expect . We had plenty of chances and probably should off won.

    Keegan got it spot on last night , and we should play the same line up against Fulham, and if they win that game or when they win that game keep the same line up again. Make it hard for the other first teamer wannabees to get into the line up.


  • Spyro

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #20

    agree john, exact same line up would be good

  • Bardy08

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #21

    toonhitman you are talking a load of bollox!!!!!!
    the 433 system worked like a dime.
    if you keegan keeps this system on saturday then i predict a 3-0 win.
    the owen and martins partnership looks like it could keep us up
    this is because martins will help owen score the goals needed because when he gets his shots away the keeper will have no chance of holding on to it and if that does happen you will see owen 90% of the time waiting there unmarked to slot it home into a empty net.two changes to make is take of barton and butt and replace them with smith and nzogbia.this is because nzogbia will put in quality balls and smith is outstanding when he is in the middle of the park.if these changes happen i think we will be unstoppable in every area of teh park only if the defence plays like they did in the second half.if you started with those two yesterday it would have been a simple win

  • andyc290

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #22

    I thought we played very well second half. The players settled into the system well. If it hadnt been for the error by Faye for the goal we would have got all three points. As for Martins coming off – he was starting to look tired as wasnt making as many runs as he had been earlier in the game. Granted Viduka also looked very tired but that formation would not work without a target man and i think Keegan was also reluctant to take off any of the midfield three incase we went too attacking and lost it. A good point but we NEED a win on Saturday – anything else will be a disaster because we need to put points on the board NOW while we have the chance.

  • dopaz

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #23

    stick with martins owen and viduka up front the goals will flow, barton cannot start he is so poor, cant remember a player who gives the ball away so much he brings nothing, start zog their and weve also got milner to come back from injury, roll on summer for the rebuilding, keep the faith…

  • Dunc

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #24

    I don’t know who saw the starting line up last night but it wasn’t 4-3-3. It was 4-4-2 with Oba on the left wing supposedly pushing forward to make it a 4-3-3 and then dropping back in when we didn’t have the ball.
    Oba can’t play this position though and was all over the place, leaving Enrique exposed every time Joey barton lost the ball (which was every time he got the ball).
    The amount of posession we squandered without pressure on us was appauling, as was the lack of pressure on the ball.
    This is why we were so sh1te in the first half. We couldn’t lose our shape because we never had any in the first place.
    The only reason we looked better in the second half was because we were so bad in the 1st and we looked as if we were playing 4-3-3.

    Relieved to see Smith out. But no Zog or Duff ?? WTF (is Duff injured?) NO wingers… why not??

    Moving on. Has anybody seen Keegans interview on Setanta? What he says about the midfield is shocking and laughable. I love Kev but what he says is BULL!!!!!! I hope he’s only saying it as motivation.

  • Dunc

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #25

    John… comment 19.

    Did you watch the game on the radio???

    I’m not ashamed of having an opinion and being passionate about my team. The same as I support I have a right to come out with constructive criticism. I feel it my right when I put petrol in the car and spend money on a ticket for the game.

    Yes we did o.k. in the second half but from our line up we should be expecting a hell of a lot more.

    Also, if you feel KK got it spot on last night, well… er…er… speechless!!!

  • Hadji

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #26

    Any hope for Emre on Saturday?

  • Michael

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #27

    I still debate if indeed he still has them, I have always argued that avoiding relegation is motivation enough. If you worked for a company and the company was falling, you would try to save your job. Most of these players know now that it is not good on one’s cv to have been relegated, many a toon fan on this very forum refer to Viduka and smith as being in the leeds side that descended out of sight.

    Not only this not all our current crop of players is going to walk into another club and earn what they are currently earning and this one of their last opportunities of playing for a big club. You would imagine players like smith could end up at say Boro, wigan etc.

    There is sufficient selfishness that motivate the players to stay up.


    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #28

    The second half performance means that they put in a good half shift, the trick is to to put in a full shift in the same way. I hope Kevin plays the same team on Sat.against Fulham except put Zog in for Barton and Milner for Gerami (so i suppose i dont want the same team) which will be a lot more creative. Owen Viduka & Martins worked and will work even better at home with Milner and Zog creating. And no i dont want paying for this sound advice kevin but if you want anymore you where i am

  • Hadji

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #29

    Robbie Keane was fined 120 ooo for his reaction when he was substituded in the last game.
    That’s 2 weeks of playing for free for him.
    Imagine…Keane & Smith on the same salary

  • Leo Kompany for the Toon

    Mar 18, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #30

    they should repay his faith he has put into them with a performance like the second half, for the rest of the season

  • valle

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #31

    Oba came to life in the scond half, but he was very poor in the first half, i hope Duff will return soon, tho im not sure if i want Milner to start ahead of Geremi… Both can be frustrating, but i guess Milner are faster and more attacking, while Geremi is far better at set pieces and crossing.

  • faustino

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #32

    Billy – I agree totally about Milner but he’s out for 3 weeks mate.

    N Zogbia though – I’m not sure; as I said in another thread I reckon he’s checked out and on his way to White Heart Lane already. Not what we need attidtude wise right now.

    Good performance from a team that looks to be verging on gelling. No their not great but they’re the best we’ve got and I for one are right behind each and every one of them. Stop being miserable bastards or next year the wind might change and you’ll stay that way.

  • Spyro

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #33

    If tottenham want zoggy then we should do a swap with taraabt, he is better anyway.

  • MattyDread

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #34

    Well said Tino

  • Ben

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #35

    Whats with all the positive comments? – The first half of football I witnessed was one of the worst I have ever seen.

    Defending – lame as usual, both Taylor and Faye caught out time and time again, but are the best we have! – we really desperately need some composure and experience at CB in the summer.

    Keegan praises the midfield???…..
    True that Butt put a decent shift in breaking things up but Geremi?- seems unable to take even half decent corners or set pieces and Joey Barton loses the ball every single time he gets it and provides absolutely nothing of note whatsoever.

    The lads obviously came out 2nd half after Keegan throwing a few bottles around and gave it a bit of a go.

    Just when we were building up a head of steam though Keegan subs Martins!!!- The guy who set up our goal and the only player on the pitch to actually threaten, run at people, have shots and generally look dangerous- What the hell is going on here? – The boos from our fans said it all.

    How the hell can every single supporter know that Oba is easily our best striker and the man in charge not?

    Cant remember a decent shot/ header or pass the slow lumbering Viduka made all night…. yet he is favoured!?

    Plus points – dropped Smith or Duff who have been consistantly terrible.

    Kev – Please play your best team against Fulham! Its not Rocket science! : –


    Beye Faye Taylor Enrique

    Geremi Butt Emre N’Zogbia

    Martins Owen

  • Ben

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #36

    Actually- changed my mind! – give Diatta a go at centre half – he might actually bring some confidence into the back four.

  • Doctapaul

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #37

    Geremi showed some quick feet and thinking under pressure and is certainly worth his place on Saturday

  • Doctapaul

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #38

    It was 442 last night except Keegan clearly gave Martins a free rein (a la Chris Waddle). This allowed Enrique space to come forward where he looked the best I’ve seen him.

    Viduka keeps two defenders busy so is worth his place for that alone. if we can just get our passing and crossing into gear – we’ll see a big difference come Saturday.

  • Spyro

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #39

    did anyone watch soccer AM, Steven Taylor was on the teammates section, he said n’zogbia is the laziest trainer and the dumbest teammate…i hope he was only kidding lol

  • iain

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #40

    i have no problem with geremi playing but i sware if he wastes any more set pieces you have to ask what on earth keegan is doing letting him take them.

    the first half performance though was shocking we would struggle in teh championship playing like that. at least there is some sort of plan and organistation into the long ball football they play at that level.

    geremis lean back and chip it approach is horrific to watch and the amount of players just punting the ball away as they didnt want it was shocking. ive never seen a team actively trying to give away the ball as much as our lot did 1st half.


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