Mapou Yanga-Mabiwa showed what a great player he can become for Newcastle in the future, with some excellent games in his first few months on Tyneside, and that was against a back-drop of possible relegation – so our players and the five new Frenchmen in particular, were playing under considerable pressure in the last four months of the season. We’ll not even mention the extreme pressure on Newcastle fans.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – we got the job done
Mapou has talked on the Newcastle web-site today and he mentions how things suddenly became a lot more relaxed after we managed to beat QPR 2-1, after going a goal down, and then down to 10 men after goalie Rob Elliot had been sent off after 81 minutes.
But veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper came in and settled everybody down with his experience.
And Steve then made his farewell appearance and played very well against Arsenal in the 1-0 defeat in the final game of the season, when he was made captain for his very last of 199 appearances for his home town club.
Mapou has talked about how things were when we were struggling:
“It was tough and pretty complicated at times but the job was done – we stayed in the Premier League, which is what we set out to do when we arrived in January,”
“Newcastle United is a massive club which deserves to be playing Premier League football. It was a very stressful situation and we owed it to ourselves to go out there and do really well.”
“What we were doing for the last few months was playing with quite a lot of pressure on our shoulders, but as soon as we beat QPR and secured our safety, things were much better.”
“Even in training sessions, people were enjoying themselves because the weight was off our shoulders. It was a very tough season but we will go out next year and aim to hit the ground running and do a much better job.”
That’s one of the problems clubs have when they sink near the relegation zone – tension mounts and the players are under a lot more pressure – and that’s one reason we hope we’ll be nowhere near the relegation zone next season.
And the latest betting on which Premier League manager will be sacked first next season, has Alan Pardew at the very top of the list at 2-1.
We need the players and the manager to have another season like we had in Alan’s first full season at the club – and we could finish in a top eight place next May.
And certainly Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa looks like somebody who can help us get there.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org