Jamaal Lascelles made his return to the Newcastle team on Monday in our 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. The skipper had missed the previous two match after suffering a hamstring injury during our big win at Everton.
After the defeat, Lascelles was critical of the passive approach that aided Chelsea in their dominant first half leaving Newcastle down two goals at the break. The Magpies came out and put in an improved performance in the second half but ultimately, it was a comfortable win for the Blues.
Speaking to NUFC TV after today’s training session, Lascelles was asked about his remarks and what Newcastle have been concentrating on over the past few days of training. This was his answer:
“The way we started the game really. Probably a little bit too passive and we maybe showed them a little too much respect.
“Against a team with quality like that, the least we need to be doing is getting up against them and making life hard for them. We need to look at ourselves and ask ourselves ‘why didn’t that happen?’
“In the dressing room at halftime, things were said. I think we came out in the second half as a better team. It was a much better performance in the last forty-five minutes.”
The captain was then probed about Sunday’s opponents Manchester United and whether the lads will take the second half approach to Old Trafford:
“Definitely, against a team like Man United, it’s a given, that you have to get up against them in the face.
“It’s just a question of why didn’t that happen in the first half of the Chelsea game.”
The performance against Chelsea was a letdown compared to recent results, especially the high watermark of the season – the 2-0 win at Everton. However, the dip in performance wasn’t crater-like as has often been the case during this campaign.
Manchester United, like Chelsea, will need to be pressed from the opening whistle to, as Lascelles said, make life hard for them. Newcastle have a couple of 1-0 wins at home against the Red Devils in the previous two seasons.
However, we are on a string of two straight 4-1 defeats, including this past October when Man United went on a goal blitz in the final few minutes. So the Magpies will be well aware of how lethal Man United can be in front of goal.
When asked about what Newcastle need to do to turn things around on Sunday and get a result at Old Trafford, Lascelles referenced the recent run of good form and how that standard needs to be kept this weekend:
“I think recently the football and the way we’ve gone about everything has been much more encouraging and better.
“We’ve set the benchmark in a few games, and we have to keep it there.”