League Games Tough After European Games On The Road


Newcastle’s form in the first ten minutes or so of our match against Southampton on Sunday was not good,  and we went behind after only three minutes to a sloppy goal – from a Newcastle viewpoint –  and it turns out we’ve only won two games this season when playing in the league after playing away in the Europa League on the preceding Thursday.

rob elliot man united 2-1

Rob Elliot – it’s difficult after Europa League away games

That was when we beat Norwich City 1-0 after playing at CS Maritimo on the previous Thursday when we drew 0-0 as part of our Group D games.

The next time we have this situation is when we play in Russia at FC Anzhi Makhachkala a week tonight and then host Stoke City on the following Sunday – so we’ll have to be very careful at the beginning of that game.

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot has talked about how difficult it is to play games after traveling for six hours back form the Ukraine last Thursday night, as he had this to say in the Journal today:

“Some of the fans might have been a bit disgruntled with us in the early stages of Sunday’s game, but especially after the long flight to Ukraine, it’s tough.”  “We got back at four in the morning and trained the next day. Then you’re playing again on the Sunday for 90 minutes.

“I didn’t play on Thursday and I was struggling, and I play in goal. It is tough but we showed the desire. We know we’ve got a rest until Swansea of six days, so it was a case of winning the game then getting our recovery for Saturday.”  “We’ve always said once the Europa League’s done, it’s done and we can concentrate on the Premier League.”

“We did that very well on Sunday. We forgot the Europa League, concentrated on the Premier League and got three points.”  “That’s something we may have struggled to do before but with the depth of the squad and the players we’ve brought in, it’s helped us.”  

“Southampton were excellent on Sunday and they’ll probably consider themselves a bit unlucky in terms of the play, but I think our strength, determination and power saw us through.”

We were surprised how good Southampton were on Sunday – but they’ve been playing very well over the last couple of months.

It will be important to take all 3 points off Stoke in our game a week on Sunday, because at the moment they are 3 points above us in the league in 10th position and with a better goal difference at the moment.

And of course it doesn’t help that we’ve drawn a Russian side,  because that will be another long journey we have to make – which is much harder than saying playing a French or Dutch side – which is just a short air flight away.

But first up is a trip to South Wales on Saturday afternoon when we meet the new Capital One Cup Champions Swansea – and this will also be a tough game.

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15 comments so far

  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #1

    Some tough fixtures indeed, but I reckon we will win at leat half of them, and sit in the top half, but outside of Europa league spots. Top 8 is a real possibility, maybe higher if other results go our way.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #2

    Sorry but I am not having that.

    Playing two games in a week is obviously more draining and allows less prep time for each opposition but no way does a 4/5 hour flight cause any tiredness.

    Getting bussed to the airport, everything sorted for you and first class travel isn’t hard.

    There is only 2/3 hours max time difference and they are only there for a couple days so not like you adjust to the time and suffer jet leg on your return

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #3

    Tsunki 🙂

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  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #4

    TS, you are right, but wrong here I’m affraid. We are talking about lads who have a very short working day by and large. If it isn’t a match day they only do 3 / 4 hours, and they don’t train every day, so we are not talking businessmen who are used to 40+ hour weeks. Travelling a couple of hours by either train or plane always knackers me, and I’ve never been able to work out why.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #5

    G

    Yeh but these are used to travelling….they fly to away games and travel from airports to grounds all the time.

    Does the flight being 45 mins or 4 hours have such an impact on people who are used to it?

    Plus a lot travel for international games and are back and forward to home countries every now and again too.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #6

    G

    Plus I get it can make you a bit tired…but after sleep that night are you tired that tired the next day (or a couple days later as the case will be by the time they play).

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  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #7

    I know, I agree, for the most part, but when somebody’s working week is usually restricted to a few half day training sessions, couple of club / PR commitments, and 90 or so minutes of actuall graft, an extra 4 hours on a plane is considered a bit of a faff?

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  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #8

    TS @ 6. That isn’t what I keep telling my MD mate!

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  • Pushy Pardew

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #9

    Ibiza
    Good morning . Your not the clown ! Don’t wish to compound.
    Ian Toon
    I am a Toonsy blogger( you’ll know but don’t wish to advertise and
    disrespect Ed and his brilliant blog) and so is Tsunki. It’s by and for toon fans. Been around for a few years but a number of the toon army
    post. Less anonymous but posters do benefit from no abuse. It’s all toon news and gossip but you can have a laugh without any spite.
    Well informed contributors so you will be at home. If I contributed in giving the clowns ammunition I am sorry. Swansea 1 Newcastle 2.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #10

    G

    No disrespect meant here but these guys are professional athletes and extremely fit, i imagine you aren’t that same level (or are you a rob elliot in disguise? haha) so they should be used to physically demanding activities like intense training so a flight shouldn’t be too bad.

    Suppose it’s a case of each to their own, some will suffer others wont at all.

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  • nufc 11

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #11

    Has to be something into it lads when the big side drop down frm champions league thwey are not really bothered if the parcipate or not arent they changing the europa to champions league too, there revamping the whole competition by the looks of it.

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  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #12

    Ha ha, no, your’e right. I’m not the finely tuned machine I once was. To be fair though, I was once a career soldier and maintained excellent levels of fitness over a number of years, to such a point where I could do everything those professional athletes could do (Albeit with absolutely no ball control!), in any weather, whilst carrying 50lb+ of weight, so I don’t feel too much sympathy for their training. I don’t begrudge it, I even understand it, but like I said earlier, for the most part its all most of them will ever know. The travel still knackers me though, as you said, were all different.

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  • brian kilclines pony tail

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #13

    @ G -i am with TS on this, i am ex royal navy and i also used to travel the length of this country regularly and then was then expected to do 6 hours on 6 hours off, 6 hours one, 6 hours off even when shore based, i was also fit as a fiddle and was never tired by the travel and neither were my oppo’s. if we were it was more down to hang overs than anything else.

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  • G

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #14

    bkpt, in the name of inter-services relations, I won’t start the war of words over pongo’s/matelots, but as I said earlier, these guys don’t work those sorts of hours, so yes, it will have a detremental affect on them.

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  • toonincheek

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #15

    Not saying it’s easy playing PL at the weekend after a mid-week game in Europe.
    It’s not just the fitness, but these days, working on tactics for the next match is increasingly important, so the limited days between matches affects that.

    Still, SBR managed an incredible record in the PL after a midweek Euro game.
    I think his record was even better playing after a midweek game than not playing midweek.

    And his squad wasn’t as strong as ours is now, so there was little chance of any rotation.
    And – that wasn’t just Europa, some seasons it was CL games.

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