Newcastle Defense Now Much Improved

Habib Beye has said that after the Aston Villa game, when we conceded 4 second half goals after being ahead 1-0 at half time on merit, the team just had to come to grips with how they needed to improve their defensive play.


Habib Beye – team had to get to grips with improving the defense

The 4-1 defeat by Aston Villa on 9th February was followed two weeks later by a 5-1 hammering at home by Manchester United, and that was the time Kevin and the team realized they just couldn’t keep leaking goals at that rate. That’s also how our goal difference got so bad so quickly.

The Senegal international says the meeting Kevin held with the team after those two defeats stopped the defensive crisis that threatened to cost Newcastle their Premier League status.

Beye said today:

“When you concede a lot of goals like the game against Man U and four goals against Aston Villa you have to sit down and talk. You have to do something that will change things.”

“After these games we spoke to the manager and everybody listened to the possibilities of how we could play better.” “Against Fulham we kept a clean sheet and then against Spurs we conceded just one goal which was a great header from Darren Bent.”

“It’s good to work all of the time on keeping clean sheets.” “The defence worked really hard at Spurs. And when you are doing that at the back the midfield follow suit and the attack.”

“Mark Viduka and Oba and Michael Owen also worked for the team. When the strikers defend from the front too it’s easier for the midfield and then it’s easier for the defence.” “Forty points is the target, we have Reading next and we have to continue the confidence into that game.”

Since the Manchester United debacle we’ve conceded just 6 goals in our last 5 games, with 3 of them being away to Liverpool. So things are looking up and Kevin plays a consistent back four now in Beye Faye Taylor and Enrique, which is probably our best back four right now, with 3 of them being new this season.

One thing we cannot afford to do now is slip back into any of our old ways. We must keep our good form going, and keep picking up points.

As we’ve said before, if we can beat Spurs away by 4-1 in the way we accomplished that, there’s no reason why we cannot win every one of the 6 games remaining.

That must be the goal of the team in the short term, and that should send us up the league a little.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

14 comments so far

  • Eric

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #1

    If we do by some miracle win our remaining fixtures will we, as some suggest, get up to 6th?
    Even 7th? That means applying for an Intertoto place does it not. Not impossible. If Habib is right there’s no reason not to aim for it. We do
    have something to play for and its now more than pride. Winning all six left means 53 points. More likely 47 – that we can get! A sequence of win/draw, win/draw, win/draw.

  • Chris F

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #2

    the intertoto application deadline will have already passed, so unless we’ve applied for it in pure hope a while back, even if we did move up the league, we won’t be in it.

    either way, will we win all 6 remaining games?

    will we heck. sorry, but try not to get too carried away, it’s only 2 wins.

    yes the spurs win was good, but after the 2nd goal went in, they looked like we have recently, heads dropped and so did their defences.

    will we beat reading at home? i’d say yes, hopefully.

    pompey away? no chance, most we’ll get is a draw, i imagine.

    derby game? home win, you’d hope, given how spectacularly crap theyve been this season too.

    west ham at the boleyn ground? again, a point would be a good result.

    beat chelsea at home? nae way, not if theyre still within spitting distance of man united, which they very well could be.

    everton away? again, a draw at best imo, because theyve had a very good season.

    so, at best, i can see us scraping together 8, maybe 9 points from the last few games.

  • Faustino

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #3

    If we do win all the remaining games, which we won’t, the best we can hope for is an 8th or 9th place finish and even then that will depend on a woeful run in from Man City, West Ham, Spurs and Villa.

    enjoying the optimism though

  • Big Gaz

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #4

    Its daft to talk about Europe this time around, However not next season, its a must.

    Just on the subject though, can anyone clear up the position of Europe placings this season, say for example Portsmouth win the FA cup and Spurs have already got their place. How many places does the Premiership have and how far down the league will it go, providing the above 2 get their place??????

    Can anyone enlighten me??

    Will be a hard fought game at the weekend,but I am predicting a win. Come on Toon!!!

  • Geordie Gerrard7

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #5

    it pains me soo much to still even see that we conceded four against villa in one half, i was on the bus with the boys on the way to football, next to me i have to villa fans listening to radio 5 with me. owen scores, i go mental. going through the game in the first half,and given makes to incredible saves, get off the bus just as they blow for half time, saying to these to villa fans, yeah this is newcastle’s turning point king kev is back, they much agree.

    anyway, coming out for my game second half, when the referee says it was 4-1 to villa to one of his assistants, all slating the kings return, obviously none knowing i was a newcastle fan standing right behind them, got me in a right mood, end up scoring an equliser about 10 minutes into the second half, thinking the day wouldnt be to bad afterall, they go on the attack, even though i am a striker, i was last man chasing one of there midfielders back , who was bearing down on goal, so i end up hacking him out about 35 yards from goal, got sent off, was gutted, then they score from the resulting free kick, absoloute screamer, so this game always pains me to see. as probably it was the worst footballing game of my life.

  • Leo

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #6

    yeah defence has improved, not because everytime the other team has attacked we have 4 defenders behind the ball. its because the whole team works together so if one player cant get back someone else is covering them

  • HeronMag

    Apr 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #7

    I think it’s way too early to start talking about an improved defence. I’d like to see a lot more consistency in the next 3 matches before I start being even more optimistic.

    I’d agree that our attacking play is easily the best I’ve seen in a long time, but Habib and Co have a long way to go to persuade me they can handle the attacking play of teams like ‘The Big 4’.

  • scott9

    Apr 3, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #8

    the defence has got better but it defo needs work in the summer i think we need at the veryl least one centre back and one left back.

  • Chris F

    Apr 3, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #9

    Big Gaz: IIRC, England gets 3 UEFA Cup places, so with both cup winners getting one, the 3rd is awarded to 5th place in the league.

  • Vitorbarbosa

    Apr 3, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #10

    Only 5th place in the league will get the Uefa cup spot. After that, teams can get through the back door, via Intertoto if they applied or England being awarded an extra place because of Fair Play. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    There was spell against Spurs where our defence was all over the place. I thought they will get the second before too long but luckily it didn’t happen. There was one instance where Our defence on the right let one of the spurs striker(can’t remember who) run inside the box without even one defender following and pressure him.

    There are still a lot of work to do in defence. How many clean sheets we have? Anyway, I can see that they are performing better. At least they are more compose and unlike other teams around us which always hack the ball to the lines.

  • Spyro

    Apr 3, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #11

    that does sound like a bit of a bad day geordie gerrard7 lol

  • HonoraryGeordie

    Apr 3, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #12

    I think the defence was getting unfair criticism myself, if the midfield had managed to have any impact on any game (as they are now) the defence would not have had 90 minutes of continual pressure in which to make mistakes. It is no coincidence that the same back four that Fat Sham played can now all of a sudden hold there own, it is due to an improved midfield managing to get the ball down and play some football, removing the pressure on a very good back four!

  • ObaFan2

    Apr 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #13

    7 points from 9 is good but I cannot believe there’s talk of “euorpe” for next season 😀

    Beye is linking well with Geremi and obviously feels more comfortable with him playing infront of him.

    However we still give silly goals away, Bents goal nobody closed down the player crossing.

    It is much improved but I think that is partly due to a more confident team and also the forwards and midfield playing much better and keeping alot of pressure on the opposition.

    One good thing in defence on Sunday, Spurs were on the break but there still seemed to be four if not five people defending and didn’t leave the usual 2 on 1 or 2 on 2 attack.


    Apr 3, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #14

    it is hard to close down a player like malbranque because you dont know what he is going to do. he could cross on on his left or his right so it i s a problem and i understand why beye didnt go in for the tackle. he should still try and block the cross however.


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