It’s a long time since Shay Given had anything like a decent defense in front of him at Newcastle United.
But there are clear signs that Joe Kinnear and Chris Hughton, who seem to have an excellent understanding together, are determined to make the defense one of the best Newcastle have had in recent times.
Assistant manager Chris Hughton told nufcTV today:
“Keeping clean sheets drives home to the team that we have to make ourselves harder to beat,” “If we can stop the opposition from scoring then we always know we’ve got players to get a goal at the other end.”
“But it’s also very pleasing for Shay as well. One thing that a goalkeeper always wants is a solid defense in front of him and we have looked that in recent matches.”
“It’s now about keeping clean sheets on a more regular basis and these last two have done wonders for confidence.”
Coloccini has made a big difference to Newcastle at the back this season, and at least in the last two games 22 year-old Sebastien Bassong has looked just as good. We have to hope the young Frenchman can continue his recent excellent form, because if he can, the position is his.
He’s been one of the big successes so far this season, as he was brought in as a youngster, who was expected to take at least a season to challenge for a first team spot. It speaks volumes for the youngster’s character and temperament, that he has improved so quickly, and it certainly hasn’t gone to his head, that’s for sure.
It’s a very long time since we’ve had anything like a decent defense, which was a season or two when Bobby Robson managed the club. Even under Kevin Keegan in the 1990s, our defense was hardly the strength of the team.
But Chris is right, and all top teams have good defenses, that can take the pressure during a game without conceding a goal. What we need to get working on Saturday at home is getting a few goals, so we can start winning games, now that we have made ourselves that much more difficult to defeat, and score against.
This all sounds good to us, and we think the team may be back on an upward spiral – we really hope so anyway. 😀