One of the reasons that Bournemouth were able to beat Southampton 2-0 at home last night was the intensity of the play coming from Eddie Howe´s men and they fully deserved the win.
That victory was Bournemouth’s first over Southampton in the league since 1958 and certainly they will be a handful for Newcastle on Saturday afternoon and our players will have to match their intensity at St. James’ Park.
The advantage we have is that 50,000 fans will be there supporting the lads and they usually turn up for home matches, although that´s not always been true for away games which is one reason we are so apprehensive about the game tonight at Stoke City.
Steve McClaren – players understand the trouble we are in
That´s one thing Newcastle fans will not accept – players not giving 100% in games – be it at home or on the road – and that´s what has happened far too many times away from home this season.
Because of their seeming lack of commitment away from home Steve McClaren has had to again say once again that the players at Newcastle know the difficulty we are in so maybe we will get some fight tonight at the Britannia Stadium.
This is what Steve has said about his players:
“I’m just giving you the reasons for us conceding goals and maybe capitulating a bit with our away form.”
“But I do know, strongly on the other side with 12 games to go, we have enough in that dressing room in terms of talent, ability and character to win the games we need to win to stay in this league.”
“Yes, the players share that knowledge.”
“It was one thing that we asked at the start of this period, and the message that we threw at the players was that they have to know and realise the situation that we’re in.”
“They can’t afford to leave it until the last game in the hope they’ll do something there.” “We’ve been saying this all season to get out of the bottom three.”
“It’s not a new message in that respect, it’s just the severity and the seriousness of the position is starting to get heightened.”
That´s one reason we are very concerned about Newcastle´s chances – Steve has been telling his players all season long that we have to get out of the bottom three – yet with only 12 games to go we are still second bottom of the league.
In addition, since the January transfer window closed we have played three games and been taken apart 3-0 and 5-1 in our two away games at Everton and Chelsea respectively – so perhaps that message is not getting through?
Tonight at Stoke City is the acid test and if we fail again it will not be good.
If we cannot get our players fighting for the shirt in every single remaining game – then prospects for our survival look grim.