Alan Shearer was pleased with the second half performance this afternoon, but he can rightly ask what the lads were doing in the first half, when we again went a goal down before the break. We have to show more urgency and spirit, right from the very first whistle, and that urgency was missing today, until the last 30 minutes or so.
Dowie, Shearer and Hughton – Newcastle’s 3 wise men
But after the game Alan was not happy it took so long for the Newcastle players to wake up at White Hart Lane, and if we are to be truthful, we deserved nothing from this performance.
“I’ve just said to them, very pleased with the second half but give me an explanation why there’s no urgency like that from minute one,”
“We have our own ideas, our own theory as to why but we have to start games in the first minute like we finish them in the last 30 minutes.”
Newcastle are now in a rather precarious position in the league and are second bottom on just 30 points, and a full 4 points from safety. We now have to hope that Middlesbrough and Hull City, who both have tough fixtures from now on, will not get many more points, so we are able to catch Hull, who are 4 points ahead of us but with a worse goal difference.
But we will need to rely on other teams now, because we’ve squandered far too many points since Christmas.
If Newcastle can win their 3 home games against Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham, we may still stand a slim chance of staying up, but more urgency and spirit is needed from this side, and we’ll not get many points with performances like this one over the full 90 minutes. The good news is that the 3 teams we have to face at home, are nowhere near the quality that Spurs showed today.
Shearer told Sky Sports after the game:
“They had the better of the game in the first half, but having said that Steven Harper has not had much to do,” “We were disappointed with the way the goal happened, I think it was from our corner. But at 1-0 down there was still everything to play for.”
“I think in the second half, the spirit was there and we now have to convert that into goals and chances.” “There is pressure on us. People have been saying for six weeks that we have to win our home games. Certainly we have to win at home to Portsmouth a week on Monday.”
Darren Bent hit the only goal of the game this afternoon, after 23 minutes, and Shearer has agreed that Newcastle have to win all their remaining home games against Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham.
“We’ll be expected to win those and we have to win those starting with next Monday against Portsmouth. My attention is now on that must-win game.”
After a poor first half performance, Steven Taylor limped off at half-time with a recurrence of his ankle problem, and Shearer introduced Martins and Mark Viduka after 60 minutes, after Alan Smith had come on for Taylor after the break.
“I’ve asked them for a reaction at half-time and they gave me it,” “Effort wise I’ve got no complaints. You’ve seen the urgency, you’ve seen spark and belief that they can pass it around.”
“I want to see that for 90 minutes. Then we’ll have the chance of taking three points instead of one or none.” “I still believe we have got enough.”
Martins and Viduka seemed to make a difference in the last 30 minutes, as Viduka set up Oba at least twice, only for Martins to have no luck with his finishing, but he looked dangerous nevertheless, after he hadn’t trained all week. However, it seems obvious he still has a groin strain, in case anybody ever doubted that.
And this little outing will not have helped that injury, but it’s all hands to the pump right now, although the ship sank again this afternoon.
Michael Owen was almost anonymous for the whole game, but there was little service provided to him, to be fair to the captain.
Martins provided a good attacking spark up[ front, and he had the ball in the net but had handled (it looked accidental) before he scored, and he probably should have been awarded a penalty after former Newcastle stalwart Jonathan Woodgate seemed to bring him down, just as he was about to shoot.
Shearer talked about that incident:
“I felt at the time it was a penalty,” “That’s three decisions we haven’t got in three games.”
Alan is already starting to sound like an experienced manager. 😀
But you cannot blame Alan himself for not being brave, although that charge can be aimed at some of our players this afternoon. Shearer introduced both Viduka and Martins after 60 minutes, in an attempt to get some goals, and some points.
“We put all of our big guns on at the end, because if you’re going to get beat you might as well get beat going down fighting,” “I thought we were more of a threat in the second half with Mark Viduka on, Oba Martins on and Michael Owen. The problem is getting those guys onto the pitch fitness wise.”
“The other problem is we haven’t got a left-back. We have got one left-back at the football club (Jose Enrique) who is injured at this moment in time.” “We changed it for last week’s game (against Stoke), and it worked, and I knew this game was going to be tough with the way Spurs play – with two wide men. But we didn’t get started in the first half.”
“Steven Taylor was then feeling an injury so we had to make a change and we put Damien Duff back there, and I thought he did a good job.”
We’re not sure how S.Taylor, Martins and Viduka will have come through this game, as far as their fitness goes, but certainly Viduka and Martins added more threat to the front-line, but whether they will be fit for our home game against Portsmouth a week tomorrow, we just don’t know.
But that game is a game we MUST win, if we are to survive this season, and a win can give us the confidence and impetus the lads seem to so desperately need right now.
Three home wins in our three remaining games could do it for us – but we need some luck and a lot more heroes need to step up to the plate, if we are to survive this season.