Kevin Keegan So Good With His Players

It’s three wins in a row for Newcastle United now, and in the last two games they have cantered home against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and Reading at St. James’ Park, and scored 7 goals in the process.


Mark Viduka – loving his football right now under Keegan

While it’s taken longer than most fans thought, Kevin Keegan and his staff have now turned Newcastle United into a good attacking team. Kevin’s master stroke was playing his three strikers all together up front in a 4-3-3 formation.

Good coaches get the very best out of the squads they have, and that’s exactly what Keegan has done in the last three months. He has remained loyal to the players he inherited and didn’t bring anybody in during the January transfer window.

Kevin has always backed them to finally come good, even though the team went through some difficult times losing 4-1 and 5-1 in successive games to Aston Villa and Manchester United, which was probably the worst time for the Newcastle faithful.

One player Kevin has stood by is Australian Mark Viduka, and Mark chipped in again yesterday with another good performance and a clinical finish for his second goal in as many weeks. The three strikers have 26 goals between them for the season out of the 40 goals Newcastle have now scored, and they continue to look awesome together.

And it’s not only the forwards that have improved under Kevin’s short tenure at the club, because Newcastle have only conceded a single goal in their 3 wins and the defense looked solid again yesterday, with young 20 year-old Canadian David Edgar looking solid at the back.

It’s hard not to think forward to what this team, suitably strengthened by at least 4 top class players in the summer, can do next season. But we’ll be doing that a lot with our readers in the summer. 😀

At the moment we still think we can capture all 15 points from the remaining 5 games, starting with a tough game against FA Cup finalists Portsmouth at Fratton Park next Saturday. That should be an excellent test for our lads.

Things are certainly looking up on Tyneside, that’s for sure.

Comments very welcome.

12 comments so far

  • Leo

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #1

    well the fact that we are defending better is due to the attacking and then getting back after as a team to watch eachothers backs.

    in the past if a team was good at defending they would be able to get draws or nick a win, and that is probably still possible against lesser teams, but try defending against teams like villa pompey liverpool blackburn manchester united arsenal chelsea- it doesnt work they just pick you off…

    attack them and you will get points but in that you will have a stronger defence

  • Eamonn

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #2

    Could it be that we’ve yet to see the best of Keegan at United? It’s early days yet but it looks like he’s matured his tactics and it’s not gonna be all attack attack this time round. Can’t wait for next season. Bring on Keane & the mackems!!

  • ArtyH

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #3

    With the threat of relegation now over it will be interesting to see if the team continue with this marked improvement. I don’t care what anybody says its down to KK factor, luck, tactics or whatever, the lads are looking great now. Kevin Keegan has changed the way the lads were playing and changed the atmosphere on Tyne-side AGAIN! Lets hope and pray it continues. Mike Ashley had better hold onto his hat next season if he lets Keegan have his own way with transfer requests, I’m sure it will be same again ” THE ENTRETAINERS ” and wouldn’t you ” JUST LOVE IT ” if we actually did it this time ( a cup win ). Come on the lads.

  • Davy C

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #4

    I think the beauty of the formation is it’s fluidity and the fact that with Martins’ pace and Owen’s shrewdness they are both very difficult to mark. Viduka holds the ball up superbly and acts as a perfect foil for these two. Owen coming from deep and drifting to follow the play with Martins starting on the left but popping up all over the front line must be a nightmare for defenders.

    Butt, Geremi and especially Barton have impressed and allowed the three forwards to shine. Beye and Enrique have added to the width when needed whilst remaining fairly solid in defence and Fay has kept it sensible at the back with Taylor (and Edgar) following suit.

    The passing and movement with patience is sometimes a real joy to watch and is a sign that Keegan has got every man enjoying his football.

    The smile on Viduka’s face as Owen just missed following another dummy summed the feeling in the club for me!!


  • wsq

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #5

    diatta looks like a solid player don’t u guys think from the few mins i saw yesterday

  • lee

    Apr 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #6

    leo you right…
    its hard for oppersition to score when the ball is in there half most of the time.
    the difference is that the midfield have started to push up field a bit more… we have three very good goal scorers up front.. and we seem to be streching the play abit more (beye seems to be the buy of bsa bunch) the others are not far behind. roz excluded.

  • hanzemre

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #7

    100% agree with all of you but 99% to Ed as i think Faye’s scored a goal this season & yet his name is not listed? 😉

  • AndyW

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #8

    What did you all make of Viduka’s comments after the game? “we don’t have to be mates off the pitch”. This coming the same week that KK said they had been trying to kill each in training. I also spotted a few exchanges between Oba and Joey Barton yesterday that didn’t look complimentary.

    I think KK’s strength has always been building rapport and spirit and he seems to have done it again this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some unexpeted changes next year though when he takes into account how players are functioning together and how compatible their personalities are. It makes a difference you know.

  • Eamonn

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #9

    AndyW, that’s so true. I didn’t notice the friction you mention between some of our players yesterday, but the great Keegan sides of the 90’s were “United” on and off the pitch (apart from that night in Temple Bar over here when Shearer chinned Gillespie!!) 🙂 Many of the players from that time (Bez, Warren, Rob Lee, Sir Les etc) have mentioned how good the spirit was in the squad and how it helped make the team great. Would be fantastic if KK could get us back there again, maybe even go one step further this time, well we can dream can’t we?

  • wrighty

    Apr 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #10

    Andy – There were no ‘issues’ between Barton & Oba other than when Oba should have put JB through on goal and vice versa later on in the game.

    They were only saying to eachother that with a smile and wink – as any of us would do if it were us on a saturday or sunday.

  • Spyro

    Apr 6, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #11

    yeah i dont think there was any problem between oba and barton, in fact barton was laughing shortly after oba opted to shoot and not put him through

    wsq i agree, from what i saw of DIatta yesterday he looked solid as a rock, really strong

  • Obafan

    Apr 6, 2008 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #12

    Problems between Oba and Barton? Not at all; like some of you said Oba should have passed the ball to Joey on that counter attack. When a corner was given the cameras were going both on Barton and Oba and indeed Joey was yelling at Oba that he should have passed the ball, but he was also smiling. I think he understood that Oba is in topform and that he tries to finish every opportunity he has (tho’ he should have passed the ball!!!).

    The only thing I think, apart from his performances, is that Viduka is not an easy man to work with. I’m just guessing, but my feeling says that I’ve got it right 😉 .


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