Keegan – Blackburn Game Was Turning Point

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:

“We 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.”

“Strangely 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 wouldn’t have a problem in this league. Since then, we’ve looked a pretty decent side. We’ve played some good football.”

“We really shouldn’t be where we are, but we are. Now the players are doing something about it. We’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.”

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.

Kevin continued:

“You only have to look at our defensive record, not just since I’ve been here, to see that it’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.

“I 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.”

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.

Keegan added:

“We’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.”

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.

Comments welcome.

15 comments so far

  • ronaldeano

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #1

    We are now starting to see KK’s team play the way that he wants them to.

    I recon that we will see a performance like that every week from now on 🙂

    Does anyone recon that we are a much better side when Alan Smith is not playing?


    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #2

    Smith is a huge part of the reason we were not preforming.imagine he was playing ahead of viduka and martins scary.BSA played him ahead of everyone and thats why he is on the welfare.kk is a legend!

  • Kieran hatten

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #3

    Yes Smith i have respect for he holds up the ball and isnt really made to be a Striker and doesent have the pace and skill of a midfielder?? Where to put him, i think we keep him at the end of the season and a Squad player…… One Sugesstion to KK, Please give Carroll time on the pitch, a young striker that i think in coming years could prove vital for our sucess

  • Ron the don

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #4

    It great to see the confidence increasing amongst all the players…the best part of it is seeing players like Butt and Geremi who had gone stale and whose passing was atrocious for the better part of the season showing what they are really capable of…Martins, Viduka, Owen combination will be great for remainder of the Season, and I cant wait for Carroll to get his chance, as the young man looks like a great player in the making with bags full of self belief…a top half finnish will be difficult and will need wins over reading west ham and mackems…also will be very interesting to see who joins us over summer (pandev,modric etc.) and who leaves (zog,duff,carr)….CANT WAIT FOR THE SUMMER

  • HeronMag

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #5

    The Blackburn game was definitely the turning point. We were very unlucky to walk away without any points.

    Lets not get carried away with this win, but enjoy the moment.

    Newcastle-Sunderland is looking a very interesting prospect now!

  • James

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #6

    I believe both Owen and Martins should be offered new contracts to tie them to the club for the rest of their careers. We cannot afford to lose either of them.

    As for Smith, we haven’t lost a game since he was dropped. One draw and two wins. Because we are finally starting games with 11 men instead of 10.

  • ronaldeano

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #7

    Spot on James, i recon now is the time for new contract talks with Owen and Martins should start now because we will definately stay up, without a shadow of a doubt!

  • Irish-Toon

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #8

    Our problem this season is that a lot of players were been played out of position. KK has now come up with a decent formation which suits the style of play. It’s funny how a couple of weeks ago this board was full of people slagging off Nicky Butt and all of a sudden he’s a hero after a couple a couple of very decent performances. Butt is one of our best players and gives his all for the club, it’s nice to see hime get some recognition. I’d also like to mention Joey Barton for his last couple of games, with those two giving their all in midfield it has allowed the front three to be more attacking even though Owen has tended to be more of an attacking midfielder, maybe this is where his future lies

  • Leo

    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #9

    well i was one of those who doubted butt, i think he is playing well but i wouldnt say he was a hero though.

    imagine how far up the table we could have been if we beat blackburn like we probably should have, then there was the middlesbough which would have been the case if it wasnt for the dodgy ref knocking many good goals off…

    where are the peoeple like dragoner now who doubted keegan? do they still think this? or they coming around?

  • Steve K

    Mar 31, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #10

    Can only say well done to Kevin. I completely doubted him and his ability, scoffed at his magic effect.

    We haven’t played this well since Roeder sent us on a charge. Hopefully we can consolidate.

    I’m happy to have been proven so wrong. Will not lose my faith again.

  • Dave

    Mar 31, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #11

    IMHO I think Owen will fill the role that Peter Beardsley did for us, breaking through from midfield and scoring, it seems strange Owens goalscoring has returned since been played in this position. The look on his face yesterday said he was happy and loving it.

  • Vitorbarbosa

    Mar 31, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #12

    I have the same opinion as well. I thought Blackburrn was the turning point because, when we played so well and lost, that reminds us of something. We need to put a little bit more and now we get what we wanted. I hope they don’t become complacent and work less that what they showed yesterday. That will be a very big mistake.

    Regarding Butt, I really hate when he plays because he is giving too much possession. His long ball definitely not good enough. But short pass ala Makelele? He can do that well.

    The three midfielder deserve a lot of credits because it’s not easy to have 3 across the midfield. They work really hard to win every tackle. Owen helps a bit though.

  • marcus owen

    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #13

    i think the turning point is when Smith was dropped.

  • spyro

    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #14

    Dragoner is now Spyro Leo, and i love the fact that out of all the KK doubters people remember me, lol. I wouldnt say i was coming around yet, i will make judgements on next seasons results etc, but KK and the team have shown promise in the last few games and i cannot deny that

  • Leo

    Mar 31, 2008 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #15

    well spyro, dragoner… i think the reason i remember you because you have been on this blog since the begginging. wasnt meaning to pick on you, just a name easily remembered


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