Kevin Keegan has returned back to Newcastle after yesterday’s great win at White Hart Lane and said the turning point for his team was the great performance against Blackburn Rovers a few weeks ago, even though we lost that game to a very late goal.
Michael Owen – scored his 9th goal of the season
Kevin was only too pleased to talk to the local Newcastle Journal this morning:
â€œWe worked very hard, but we also played with confidence. Confidence comes from results but, to be honest, I think the turning point was the Blackburn defeat.â€
â€œStrangely enough, we played fantastic that day even though we lost 1-0 and the players knew that if we could get anywhere near those standards week in, week out we wouldnâ€™t have a problem in this league. Since then, weâ€™ve looked a pretty decent side. Weâ€™ve played some good football.â€
â€œWe really shouldnâ€™t be where we are, but we are. Now the players are doing something about it. Weâ€™ve shown that resolve twice now in the last three games because we also went a goal behind against Birmingham but came back to get something.â€
And Keegan was, as has always been his style, particularly impressed again with his attacking trio of Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka. That has been Kevin’s great move, by having all three strikers up front and the midfield trio of Butt, Barton and Geremi have played together so well. It’s great the way the team has looked and performed in the last few games. They’ve kept their shape well, and played some beautiful passing football.
â€œYou only have to look at our defensive record, not just since Iâ€™ve been here, to see that itâ€™s no good us playing and trying to hold on to something. That puts pressure on your defenders, because they know they have to try to get a clean sheet just to get anything.
â€œI think our defenders know when I put this team out that maybe they can concede a goal like they did against Spurs and probably still have enough to win a football match. In the past, maybe they conceded a goal and thought that was it.â€
And there was a warning that, with six games left to play, Newcastle are still not certain of their Premier League safety. We are now 9 points clear of the drop zone and Bolton, who are 3rd bottom. However, it is very unlikely that we’ll finish anywhere near the bottom now.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely not safe yet, but this means we can start looking up not down again. We could catch Spurs up the way things look now, and we could also catch West Ham.”
“Three or four weeks ago, people would have said that was ridiculous. We have three home games left and three away and, playing like this, I think the players will look forward to each and every one of them. The confidence has come back.â€
That’s exactly the way to look at the current situation. We are now 12th in the league and it would be something, after such a terrible season, if we can somehow finish in the top half of the table. And of the 6 games left we will be going for a win in every single game – that’s a certainty.
That’s what it means when Kevin Keegan is manager – anything seems possible.