If you look at the way we played against Swansea last weekend, and the way Newcastle played yesterday against Manchester United at Old Trafford, you could see the remarkable progress in the way Newcastle defended.
Granted that both games started off almost the same way, with Newcastle under tremendous pressure for the first 20 minutes, and we did go a goal behind against Swansea, and then Daryl Janmaat got himself sent off and that was the game.
But yesterday we didn’t concede, and we saw some tremendous performances at the back, as we kept a clean sheet for the first time this season.
Fabricio Coloccini tackles Memphis Depay yesterday
Coloccini and Steven Taylor were simply terrific in central defense, and Steven is almost certain to keep his place against Arsenal for the game next Saturday, and Daryl Janmaat could find himself on the bench for that game with the defense playing so well yesterday.
There had been talk all week long among fans that our defense is still not good enough. and it was a really impressive defensive performance yesterday with crosses being blocked, shots being blocked and the defense playing like their lives depended on not conceding.
Steve McClaren seemed to go crazy on the touchline during those final 10 minutes of the game, as he tried to direct Newcastle not to concede – and he had this to say after the game:
“I think you saw out there Coloccini was the leader.” “But from one to 11 and the subs you have to defend well and you have to do your job.”
“Concentration is the key thing because I’ve been there when you lose it and you lose the game at the end.”
“We kept our focus and could have won it the end.” “I thought Colo and Taylor and Tim Krul were excellent, they were immaculate.”
“They kept us in the game in the first 20 minutes and the last 10 minutes.” “You have to defend well and they showed their experience.”
Coloccini has been criticized a lot by Newcastle fans for what happened last season under John Carver, when we seemed to lack any leadership – but he was simply immense yesterday and maybe he’s going to have a good season under new boss Steve McClaren.
We didn’t win – although with a couple of minutes of added time to go we had that three on one break and really should have scored, but it was the gutsy performance that was so good.
It was the type of performance that Geordie fans love – all fight, guts, passion and courage and as Manchester United players became frustrated as the time slipped by, it looked like we could even do it.
And do it we did with most fans almost ecstatic at an unexpected point – but what a courageous display so early in the reign of Steve McClaren.
Now we have to produce the same against Arsenal next Saturday, and maybe get our first league win.
There cannot be a let-down against Arsenal next Saturday that we suffered against Swansea, after we had played so well against Southampton.
Consistency now is key for Newcastle as we try to pick up some wins.
Howay The Lads!!