Newcastle face a difficult task tonight against probably the best team this season out of the perennial top four sides.
Steven Taylor – manager looking for improvement in certain areas
And one area of our team that has to be at their very best tonight, is our defense, because we’ve let in far too many poor goals this season.
Joe Kinnear has worked with our central defensive pair of Coloccini and Steven Taylor in training this week, because that’s where most of the goals we concede come from – right down the middle.
Joe Kinnear rightly wants to see some improvement in Steven Taylor, who with Shay Given have been the only players to play in every game for us this season.
Joe wants to see Steven get tougher and improving his decision making.
“I think Steven and Fabricio can play with each other, but obviously we have spoken about it,” “We have worked really hard on the training ground and it is a case of them having to play alongside each other because there is no-one else.”
“Of course, maybe Steven needs a bit more experience but I think he has grown up recently and I think the pair of them will be okay.”
“He has some habits which need ironing out but I have sat down with him and his answer was, ‘Well no-one has ever told me that.’ I told him I see deficiencies in all players – it doesn’t matter if you are the best in the world, you will still have deficiencies.”
“We need him to be tighter and to be stronger and not to drop off – those sort of things. He has had habits he needs to come out of it. But he can do it. He has two good feet and he’s good on the ball.”
“I told him he needs to get as tight as he possibly can and to not show your opposition too much respect – you should let them worry about you. I feel he needs to be tougher and to punch his weight a bit more but all the ability is there.”
Upon taking over, Kinnear told Taylor he wanted the 22 year-old to step up and become a key member of the squad and he has seen signs of that progression from the Newcastle Academy graduate, and local lad.
And Joe is quick to praise the good things Steven has attained this season:
“I think Taylor has all the ability to go all the way. I had Michael Dawson at Forest, he went to Spurs, and he is a similar type of player.”
“Taylor is a real athlete, he’s strong and it is maybe just his decision making at times that lets him down,” “But that comes with experience. I’m happy with Taylor – he’s got all the ability in the world.”
Kinnear knows that his attitude and temperament will help the Monkseaton youngster make the progression from the Under-21 squad into the senior England team.
“He’s a terrific lad in training – he’s a Geordie through and through and he’d run through a brick wall for you because he’s as brave as a lion.”
“Everything will come through experience for him. As he grows and gets more and more confidence he will get even better. I know there is talk about him playing for the seniors and it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Good words from Joe, and he’s an excellent man manager, just like Kevin Keegan was.
With the team now at rock bottom in the league, we need to get at least a draw tonight to get us off that bottom spot, but a win would raise us 6 places to 14th place, so we have to be brave throughout the game, and continue to look for the win, whatever happens.
We expect to see guts and determination from the lads tonight, and don’t expect to be disappointed.