Chris Hughton has talked about the disappointing result yesterday, and that he thinks Michael Owen is up for the challenge, given the growing expectations on his shoulders.
Michael Owen – he’s up to the challenge in last 9 games
Chris Hughton, who started Owen in yesterday’s game at Hull City said today:
“I think when you look at your big players anywhere there are always expectations.” “I think Michael accepts that – he is a big player. It comes with the territory.”
“This is the moment you look at your big players and your big players around the changing room.”
“This is when you want players available, and one problem we have had is that we haven’t had enough players available for enough of the season – I’m talking about regular first-team players.”
“I think there is always going to be a certain amount of fear involved at this stage of the season. But you have got to be confident you have got good enough characters and enough quality to come through that, and I’m very confident that we have.”
With difficult games against Champions League quarter-finalists Arsenal and Chelsea to come in the next two home games, the very last thing we want to see is the lads play just great, and lose twice.
Then we’ll all say – well we didn’t win but if we play as well as that for the rest of the season we’ll be just fine. How many times have we said that this season?
But we know that’s not true as we all witnessed yesterday. Against the poorer sides in the league, like Hull City, we’re just as bad or not much better.
We need to play great in games we can and should win, like yesterday’s game, but we were nowhere near as good as we were against Manchester United, and that has to be worrying.
The second half yesterday was the time the lads could have come on to grab the win, but we missed the chances when they came, and perhaps, just perhaps, that will change when Owen and Martins are more match fit.
However, we would have expected Martins to have done a lot better with the two excellent chances he had yesterday, where he failed with both, one in each half.
Hughton admitted his team had not done enough to feed Owen and Obafemi Martins up front:
“In that first half-hour, if I looked at our two front men we probably didn’t give them the service they needed.”
“We were aware first half we needed to get the ball down and give them a different type of service – and we probably weren’t able to do that.”
“I think the goal so early in the game rocked us and never allowed us to get into any type of stride.”
“Once we did get into our stride, in the latter part of the first half, we missed the opportunities to get a real stranglehold of the game.”
“The teams around us have got tough games as well. We have to make sure we win a better percentage of our games than the others do.”
When the team doesn’t get the job done we’re left with all the – if only we could have done this, and if so and so had only done that.
But they are nothing more than excuses, and unless the lads can play every game, as if it’s against Manchester United, it looks like this can go right down to the wire, in a season that’s turning out to be one of the worst ever at Newcastle, at least for the faithful fans.
One hope has to be Michael Owen, and we think he can save us, once he gets into the swing of things again and is match fit.
If Michael can start scoring the goals that will save the club this season, he will be paying off some of what he owes the Tyneside club, given how much Newcastle have paid him these last 4 seasons.
We think Michael Owen can do just that, and that he is indeed up for this rather significant challenge.