We’re not too surprised that Alan Pardew is having trouble explaining exactly what happened in yestrday’s game at Fulham.
Ben Arfa in action yesterday – scored great goal
It was like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as Newcastle looked very good in the first half and very bad in the second.
But it seems to us it was a mental let-down more than anything else, and it seemed the Newcastle players completely lost it after Fulham came back with that soft penalty, when Danny Murphy put Fulham level.
That was after Newcastle had been the dominant side through that point, and should really have been more than 1-0 up – but if you don’t take your chances you can still be vulnerable.
But whatever it is that happened yesterday it needs to be fixed, because once you feel sorry for yourself in football you are dead meat.
This is what Alan said after the game:
”I can’t really explain what happened to our back four,” ”It wasn’t a case of us not trying second half, we just lacked mental discipline in that second half and it cost us. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”
”The strength of our team – the defense – became a problem and that unit didn’t play well in the second half. They were nowhere near good enough in terms of the standards they’ve set themselves.”
”They’re probably more disappointed than me.” ”We couldn’t have been in a better place at half-time in terms of the way we controlled the game,”
”The first half we couldn’t have played much better and it is a difficult place to come. They have got some quality players and we completely nullified them.”
”We got the goal, perhaps should have had two by then, but the Premier League is such that you can’t switch off.” ”The first goal for them changed the game, I thought. “
”We kind of just switched off in that period and it cost us three goals. Then we were in trouble.” ”I didn’t sense complacency,”
”We talked about the fact that the wind was with us and therefore balls in behind would hold up and we needed to protect ourselves from that.
”As I say, without criticising individuals in our team our second-half display wasn’t what we have been doing all year.”
“We’ve been brilliant all year. I can’t even think of another period in any game where we were quite as inefficient as we were at Fulham for 25 minutes.”
”I think the contact for the first penalty was minimal and certainly the only contact that did take place was on the edge of the box,” ”But it got given and you just have to accept that.”
”Hatem, I thought, did some fantastic things,” ”His discipline in the team is improving and I thought he was a good thing for us. He scored a good goal.”
One way to make up for the terrible performance in the second half is to use the game as a marker for the season.
Newcastle can still do well in the league and there are still 16 games to be played, so now’s not the time to get too down on the team or to over-react.
And if Newcastle can show the form they showed in the first half yesterday, and learn from why they capitulated in those final 45 minutes, we could still finish up in a good position in the league table.
That’s what we want to see – Newcastle starting another good run of games – and it starts with the FA Cup 4th round tie at Brighton on Saturday.