A bit of an odd interview with Kevin Nolan today, in which he talks about various team formations, and the fact that fans like to see Newcastle play in an attacking 4-4-2 formation, at least at home.
Kevin Nolan – 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 4-3-3 – I don’t care
But Newcastle’s form this season has been so inconsistent, we just never know which team is going to turn up – the team that shot down Aston Villa and Sunderland out of the sky, or the nervous and inept side that went down to Stoke City and almost to Wigan Athletic – until the lads woke up in the last 20 minutes to get a draw.
Nolan seems to have great faith in his manager Chris Hughton to get some answers to Newcastle’s up and down form this season – so at least we have to hope it will be an up on Sunday. If it isn’t then we may be in in for a beating, that’s for sure.
Nolan told the Shields Gazette today:
“When we’re at home, people want to see us go 4-4-2 and attack teams, and give it our all,” “If we get beat 4-0, we’re all right because we’ve had a good go.””It just doesn’t work in the Premier League – Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea don’t do it. I’m not saying we’ve got their quality, but we’ve got to make sure we get points.”
“We’ve played teams who have played the same formation against us, and we’ve got to make sure we sit in there and get the right result.” “There’s loads of ups and downs.” “I’m all for 4-4-2, and I’m all for 4-5-1 and 4-3-3. They’re different.” “We’ve got to make sure when we play the systems that the players out on the wings get the crosses and balls in.”
“It doesn’t say that because we’re Newcastle United we have to play 4-4-2 because we’ve been an exciting team down the years.” “We’ve tried to get away from that. We’re trying to make a much more solid Newcastle United.” “We’re not saying we’re going to be better, but, hopefully, in three or four years’ time, we’ll see a progression.” “Hopefully, we’ll see a progression from two years ago, when we were playing flowing football and getting beat doing it.”
“We did that a lot when I first came – we were quite open, and weren’t solid. I’d prefer to let Chris make his decisions, and we, as a team, do whatever he says.” “He knows the Premier League well enough to know if we’ve got a chance of playing 4-4-2, and he fancies it, he’ll do it.” “If we want to play 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, he’ll do it.”
“I don’t have an opinion, I just want to be in the team, and to do well.”
Too much is made of the team’s formation as most of the top English teams nearly always play in a 4-5-1 formation, but that doesn’t say they don’t have lots of players moving forward when they are attacking.
As Brian Clough used to fondly say, there’s far too much made of tactics in football:
“Players lose you games, not tactics. There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.”
The very best managers we’ve seen are those that can inspire the pants off their players before each game – managers like Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, Bobby Robson and Brian Clough – that’s one of the most important attributes of any manager.
We’ll find out this season if Chris Hughton has that capability, and so far he’s shown he can do that – inspire his players – when push comes to shove.
Push comes to shove on Sunday against Chelsea – so we live in hope.