While in some games this season Newcastle have looked a classy outfit, in other games we’ve been made to work hard for what we’ve got.
Steve Harper – we’ve done nothing yet
And at Blackpool, in our only league defeat so far, we were outfought and outplayed on the night, although the lads came back well in the last 20 minutes or so, and were unlucky in the end not to be able to manage a draw.
Goalkeeper Steve Harper has reminded the team that although we’ve made a good start to the season there’s an awful; long way to go still:
“We’ve had a good start to the season and with a quarter of the season gone we are happy with where we are,” “But there is a long way to go. We haven’t achieved anything yet.”
“We can not afford to underestimate this division.” “There are 23 other teams in there who could all stop us from getting promoted. There are a lot of games in this league, more games than we are used to playing with a smaller squad than we are used to having.”
“In this league, everybody is capable of beating everybody else. We’ve got to stay at a level where we are above that and that is going to take a lot of hard work.”
The draws against QPR and Bristol City showed us that we will not always have things our own way, although we really should have got all 3 points against Bristol City, since we were all over them in then final 45 minutes.
But Harper makes the point that Newcastle will never have everything go their own way, and they’re going to have to fight for everything they can get this season, in the final 35 games remaining.
The 34 year-old goalkeeper went on:
“When we lost to Blackpool, they deserved the win. They worked harder than us over the course of the 90 minutes and fair play to them.”
“That has been the only defeat so far, but we have to constantly remind ourselves that teams are going to make it extremely hard for us in every single match.”
“In our last two home games we’ve dropped four points and that is frustrating.” “QPR and Bristol City have both come to St James’s Park and they have set themselves up to be difficult to break down and we are going to have to work out how to cope with that – because everyone will do it.”
One of the things that has worked this season is the cohesion seen between the Newcastle fans and the players, and playing staff and that has helped enormously buoy the players in the wake of Mike Ashley’s incompetence.
And with the club still up for sale (when was it not?), that has not been the distraction it was last year, mainly due to the wort of Chris Hughton. Colin Calderwood and the staff, not to mention the maturity of our senior players like Steve.
Steve has also urged the club’s many supporters to maintain that level of support at all times, because things will undoubtedly take a turn for the worse at some point during this long and tough season.
“If we had won those two games we would have had a big lead at the top of the table, but we haven’t managed to do it so the rest of the league are on our shoulders.”
“If you look at it, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Cardiff have all lost a few games this season. We have to remember that could be us at some stage and it’s important we all stick together and get through it.”
“When I say stick together I mean the players, the staff and the fans.” “We’ve got two away games in the space of four or five days against Forest and then Scunthorpe and when that happens, we’ve got to try and make sure we take four or six points from them.”
“That’s the big challenge in this division, the speed with which the games come round.”
We have to hope the team will continue to show the fight and spirit they have shown so far, but of course anything is possible at Newcastle, but we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
A win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday will get us on the right track again after the International break, but that will be a tough fixture.