Newcastle head to Chelsea this evening looking to inject a bit of pride into proceedings after the disappointing defeat to Wigan at the weekend.
To be fair to the team they’ve been pretty good at doing that throughout the season and have generally responded well to sobering defeats. However, will they be able to bounce back once more now that they are safe in the knowledge that Europe is already secured?
Personally I don’t think it will be an issue, but it will be a test of character for this team. They won’t have liked losing at the weekend and will want to make amends for it by putting in a performance against Chelsea. It may not be enough for the three points, or even a point, but as long as I see 100% effort from the players I’ll have a bit of my pride restored.
It seems strange to say this after such a stunning season and I know that at the end of the day it is only one defeat, but it was a chance to really take the bull by the horns and keep things ticking along in our favour as we chase a rather surprising Champions League place. That is what disappoints me the most about Wigan – the fact that there was something significant to play for yet the motivation – from manager down to players, all included – wasn’t there.
Anyway, enough doom and gloom!
What has gone on this season has been brilliant. We’ve moved forward so much as a club, both on and off the pitch, and credit and praise must be dished out accordingly. Yes there have been hiccups, rather big hiccups like at Fulham, Tottenham and Wigan, but on the whole we’ve witnessed a bunch of players who have put in everything for this club over the course of the season.
From here on in I’m not expecting anything. I’m not saying we should pack up our bags and go on holiday early, but instead I mean in terms of points return from our next three games. What I do expect is a bit of pride and 100% effort and, if they can do that and take points from the final three games, we may just end up in one of those Champions League places anyway.
Last week we weren’t helped by all the media talk of Champions League qualification. It’s not how we’ve done things this season as, generally anyway, we’ve gone about our business underneath the radar. It showed in our performances as we played with pressure and racked up the wins.
Right now we need to get back to that and ease the pressure whilst restoring pride after Wigan.