It was a gutsy performance today from a stubborn and courageous Newcastle side at Old Trafford, and after being completely on the back foot for the first 20 minutes of the game – which was much like last Saturday’s game at Swansea – the lads improved and showed some threat going forward before half time came.
But Manchester United were in the ascendancy in the second half, and but for some excellent defending from the likes of Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini, we could have easily lost this game.
But after Vurnon Anita kicked the ball off the line in stoppage time, we had a three man breakaway and Florian Thauvin only just missed connecting with Cisse’s shot to score – that could have won the game for us.
Florian Thauvin challenges Luke Shaw
But it was nonetheless an impressive performance from Newcastle, and fans would have seen an improvement from last Saturday, although the game was poised just before halt time much as it was last week – before Daryl Janmaat was sent off.
This is what Steve McClaren said after the game today:
“I want it to do a lot for our confidence. It’s difficult when you are new and you come in. We have made a lot of signings and we want to bed them in.” “That’s only Colo’s third game and the same for Mbemba. They can only get fitter and better.”
“It is difficult to turn it around but you need performances and you need results.” “Today I hope, I hope – and I will try to hammer it into them – that they will take confidence and belief from that, and go on because I think this team can get better.”
“I am delighted with the performance and the result. Surviving the first 20 minutes was the key to the game and 0-0 at half-time always gave us a chance.” “We always know that after Europe that Saturday game can be difficult. You have to score in the first 20 minutes after a European game and it always gives you a chance.”
“We seemed determined to give them that but we survived and grew into the game.” “With more belief and better football we could have won the game. We had a good attitude, discipline, all the things you need to get a result away from home – especially here at Old Trafford.
“Once you get that you get a bit of luck and we had that too.”
There were good performances all around, and Aleksandar Mitrovic ran his socks off for the cause, and hit the crossbar with a great header in the first half – and he gave a disciplined performance today – he looked (very) good.
Florian Thauvin came on for Obertan after 69 minutes and immediately showed his skill as he beat Shaw down the line with a deft lowering of his shoulder – and I nearly fell off my chair.
This lad can certainly cross the ball – and he almost scored on his Newcastle debut in stoppage time.
The defense proved to people like myself that maybe we are not as bad in defense as we think – and Fabricio Coloccini had one of those majestic games where he was simply superb in his defending and his reading of the game.
All the back four played well, and Tim Krul was near his best in goal with a string of excellent saves.
And Steven Taylor blocked a number of shots and also had a good game – and we’d be very surprised if Steve McClaren changes the defense for the visit of Arsenal next Saturday.
It was a good day for Newcastle United today.