One of the most pleasing things about the clean sheet yesterday was that Newcastle were so organized in defense, and in general way the players defended yesterday, and you could see how hard they had worked during the week in working on defense – cutting out crosses and blocking shots and good positional play.
The same thing may be necessary this week when we entertain Arsenal on Saturday, who another top team who start the game like a steam train, and again the first 20 minutes will be important as it’s been in our last couple of games.
Fab Coloccini – tremendous display yesterday
The man who to us was the best player on the field yesterday was Fabricio Coloccini the captain, who has come in for a lot of criticism last season, after our terrible collapse over the last 11 games of last season.
But the traveling fans yesterday were again simply magnificent, and called out Coloccini’s name as he led the team by example, – Colo had a tremendous game for the Magpies.
And there were big celebrations at the end – and to think we could even have won it in stoppage time – but we at least came away with what was an unexpected point.
This is what Coloccini had to say on the Newcastle web-site about the game:
“It is a great point for us, especially after what happened at Swansea last week.” “We needed a clean sheet and have been working a lot in training to make that happen. To get it against Manchester United and at Old Trafford makes everybody every happy.”
“It is not just about the four defenders and the goalkeeper – defending is about the whole team and we did that well today. From the striker all the way back to Tim, we worked very hard for each other.”
“We didn’t have a lot of possession but at Old Trafford it is always difficult to do that. We always tried to play but sometimes lost the ball very quickly. We will get better though – we will improve.”
“Getting a clean sheet is very important and we will keep working in this way because it looks like we are going in the right direction.”
“To hear that again (the crowd calling his name) made me very happy,” “I always try to give everything for the fans and for the Club, and it is nice to make them happy.”
“They travel everywhere, all around the country, and never stop supporting us. They are fantastic.”
One reason fans are so pleased with the display yesterday, is it looked like we have improved week on week – and as Colo pointed out – you could appreciate all the work that had been done on the training field – it paid off yesterday.
The promise is that once Steve McClaren and his team have more time working with the team, they will steadily improve as the season progresses.
One of the things to improve on is keeping the ball, and we were giving it away too much in the second half and it didn’t help us at all – especially in those final 20 minutes.
It swings both ways at Newcastle – when we have a bad day at the office they get severely criticized – maybe over the top – and when they are great like they were yesterday they get tremendous accolades – and yes – maybe over the top too.
My son Neil keeps pointing out that it was really the Daryl Janmaat sending off after 41 minutes that was the thing that completely sank us last weekend, and if he had stayed on the filed we could even have made something of that game at the Liberty Stadium – even though we were 1-0 down at the time.
The first 45 minutes of the last two games were not too dissimilar – apart from the sending off.
But we now have to press on and build on yesterday’s fine backs-to-the-wall performance.
On NBC Sports Network after the performance yesterday, the analysts in the studio agreed this was a different (and better) Newcastle team than we had last season – and we had some class in the side now.
We have Northampton Town on Tuesday night at home, in the League Cup, and then the early kickoff game again next Saturday, when Newcastle will again be shown live around the world on TV.
We would have gained some new fans after yesterday’s gutsy display – that’s for sure.