Pardew seeks defensive improvement

Newcastle must improve, says Pardew.
It may not be what some fans want to hear, but Alan Pardew has already pinpointed the main area he is looking to improve over the summer.

That area is primarily the defence which at times has leaked like a sieve and has meant that any chance of winning a game has been lost, sometimes before the match is actually properly under way.

Newcastle conceded 51 goals last term – the second worst amount in the top half of the table – although heavy defeats to Tottenham, Fulham and Wigan contributed 14 to that total. Still it’s an area which clearly needs working on and strengthening in the summer, something that Pardew is keen to press on with.

“At the back is an area we need to strengthen. We’ve let in too many goals,” Pardew told nufcTV.

“We have to tighten up at the back. We finished with only a plus-five goal difference. We let too many in and didn’t score enough to win 21 games – that’s the truth of it.”



“But to win 19 means you’ve been really tight all year. We’ve had to grind wins out and next year we are going have to make sure we win 21 games with a little bit more style.”

He added: “It’s important that we don’t rest on our laurels, that we understand we have taken the Club on a huge leap forward, finished above some great teams below us, and then try to improve on that.”

Of course having Steven Taylor back will be a huge boost to the defence, but it’s still light on both numbers and quality. We need another central defender and more than likely a specialist right or left back as Danny Simpson’s days on Tyneside appear to be numbered. The right or left part depends on what they fancy doing with Davide Santon, who was excellent in the final few weeks of the season.

There is talk of Mathieu Debuchy being the one that we’re looking at, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was a complete red herring and we landed up with someone hardly anyone knows anything about. And why not? It hasn’t exactly served us poorly thus far has it?

The central defender is another are which sounds as though it will be strengthened giving us more depth, which is needed if we are to compete on more fronts next season, including the Europa League.

Our “goals for” stat could do with some improvement, but it’s the “goals against” column which is causing us more problems at the moment. If you concede goals regularly it gives our attack little chance of winning a game, regardless of how good they may be. The frightening thing is that we conceded 51 goals with 15 clean sheets added into the mix. That’s essentially 51 goals against in just 23 games – over two a game!

And that most definitely needs improving on next season!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

42 thoughts on “Pardew seeks defensive improvement

  1. Aye good read Rooney. I just hope we get the new defenders in early in the window, to give them the maximum time to form a working relationship with our existing defenders.
    On a separate point, I would like to know peoples expectations for next season. Would we be happy with a tin-pot trophy, yet not in the top 6, ala Liverpool. Or is top 6 more important. I think it will be too hard to get into CL places, as ever.
    A good European run would be gpod also. That would be a great trophy to bring home.

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  2. Whichever defender we sign is going to need to be able to lead and get the players going if their heads are dropping. 15 clean sheets doesn’t happen by accident, so we know we can defend really well, it’s just our poor mentality when we go a goal down. Tiote needs to become the vocal, leader he is capable of.
    Atm I am struggling to see us signing anyone that could do a better job than Saylor, i don’t think it’s any coincidence none of our humpings happened when he played.

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  3. @BB I’d like some good cup runs and 8th minimum
    Would love to do better but i’m unsure that we’ll be able to perform to the same standard in the league straight away with European nights as well, so i think next season will be about adapting.

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  4. Miles Starforth [email protected]
    Talks over #nufc’s involvement in a pre-season tournament in South Africa at an ‘advanced stage.

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  5. yeah for sure we need better deffenders or equal, as ST says Saylor has been a big big miss not just for his playing qualities but his leadership, pride and love of his hometown club, the only problem is he has been picking up injuries over the last couple of yrs.
    BB I would take any trophy we could get our hands on, even if it meant finishing outside the top 6 but I can’t see why we couldn’t finish in the top 6.

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  6. Dave’s hit the proverbial nail on the heed there. we’ve missed saylor this season if not for his defensive ability but for shaking the team up when they need it.

    I hate ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ BUT i truely believe we’d have been playing champions league football IF saylor had a full 2011/12 season. 😉

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  7. Defo need to sort out some quality defenders.
    I’d have definately settled for outside top 6 and the League Cup, winning trophies is what it’s all about, when Wenger retires no one will remember how many times he got them in the Champions League, they’ll only remember the trophies he’d won.

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  8. @Richie

    I can’t see anyone disagreeing with Pardew on this. The defence clearly needs strengthening. If we had invested in a quality centre half in January as well as buying Cisse we may now be in the CL.

    If I had a choice for finishing in the top 4 next season or finishing outside the top 6 but winning the league cup, it would be the top 4.

    The fact you finish in the top 4 shows you have a quality side. The cup win can often be achieved by teams relegated the same season.
    The top 4 ensures huge financial benefits which increases your chances of winning a cup the following season.

    Top 4 every time for me instead of the league cup. The FA Cup is more prestigious and would have to concede, the bragging rights over the Mackems would be great.

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  9. @Richie, double edged sword though, what sounds better to a player from Spain, winner of the League cup or 4th place finish?

    For me I would take any cup every time, but only because we haven’t won anything in my lifetime. Liverpool shouldn’t be happy with an arbitrary cup win, if we’d won hoards of trophies over the years I doubt i’d care as much about cups as i would about playing at the very highest level. like Troy says, it can be pot luck, look at Birmingham.

    Careful on those “ifs” Troy 😉 Arsenal, Tottenham and Man Utd fans could quite easily say exactly the same thing.

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  10. Rich is all about the silver ware, you should see his teeth.. 🙂
    I would love a cup win as well… not sure when it will happen tho, we have the team to push for one, so I hope all the stars align and we break the drought next season..

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  11. It’s a sad fact but I agree with Troy. The fact is it’s better to finish top 4 than to win a domestic cup…I don’t think it’s right at all mind.

    It’s the fault of the FA and Uefa for not making the cups more lucrative. Champions League position for the FA cup would make things more interesting.

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  12. @aussie

    You win the award for the most obvious post of the day. ;
    I would love a cup win as well… not sure when it will happen tho, we have the team to push for one, so I hope all the stars align and we break the drought next season.. 😛

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  13. @Evil

    I’ve lost count how many times you’ve apologised for agreeing with me. 😉

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  14. There really is no secret where our weaknesses are.. we will look to strengthen but I fear that because we will not be held to ransom over transfers, we may miss out on a lot of our targets. This is my concern going forward, it is the only thing that can really hold us back.. being stubborn is not always the best way to win an argument..

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  15. I was laughing at John Barnes this morning on Keys And Gray, Talksport.

    They were speculating on the next Liverpool manager and Barnes mentioned that for Martinez and Pardew it would be a step up by going to Liverpool. 😯

    I would have agreed before Liverpool slumped and the Toon rose but currently, hardly a step up. 🙄

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  16. Troy thanks mate 🙂 wack it in the post…. 🙂

    You disapoint me.. You seem to have run out ideas Troy, is that your best effort 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  17. @Aussie

    You have to be fishing now. 😛

    You can’t post the second most obvious post in the same thread. 😛

    Try this one; I think we need to be active in the transfer market this summer. We have areas that need strengthening. 😯

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  18. The disapointment continues, come on Troyster lift you game son… Pardew would bench you for poor efforts like that.. 🙂

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  19. Crazy that we can have so many clean sheets and yet have conceded so many goals. We really are one of those “off” day teams. Defensive definitely needs improving though..

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  20. Troy…I agree consistent top 4 is what we should aim for, but I’d like to see us win a trophy, desperate to in fact. I’m not saying win the league cup and never finish top 4 and obviously top 4 and a trophy would be the preferred option but if someone gave me the choice over the next 10 seasons of winning the League cup and finishing 8th in one season and 4th in the other 9 or finishing top 4 for 10 seasons but winning nowt, I’d pick the 1st option every time 😉

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  21. Aussie..but being consistently stubborn also lets other teams know we won’t be dragged into long, drawn out crap, which by the time its played out gives you little time to explore other options 😉

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  22. Liverpool had a crap season – finished 8th and won a cup

    FFS – i would have settled for a cup and relegation – and would of called it a good season

    we’ve GOT to get that monkey off our back to make real progress

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  23. Rich, I am as stubborn as they come mate… I think it is a good trait 🙂 🙂 Seriously tho, you have to be careful that you don’t cut your nose off to spite you face. We got lucky with Cisse and got him for a knocked down price but that won’t always be the case.. I reckon we will miss out on a few choice players as a result. I hope I am as wrong as Troy normally is 🙂 🙂

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  24. Newkie I think its down to the fact that once we go behind , Colo is the only player that keeps his cool the rest are like rabbits in the headlights, Willo for me is the main culprit he just crumblesand reverts to wrestling as he still hasn’t learned that your not allowed to wrestle players. But he makes up for it in scoring goals with 3 or 4 this season. 👿

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  25. Aussie….know what you mean, but Ashley will pay what he thinks a players is worth which means, like it or not we have to accept missing out at times. Some chairmen will pay what it takes(£35m for AC) , which is great if it brings trophies and lucrative UCL money, if not then it’s ” up shit creek” time.

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  26. Because of the financial reward it brings you ‘d have to say top 4 I suppose, but I would be happy with the F.A cup and 7th/8th next season .So want to see Toon win a decent cup befor I slip off this mortal plane. 😉

    Troy@16- Ex bindippers ,they do my head in ,constantly living in the past glory years. When is the last time they won the PL ,oh yes NEVER, just like us ,so how the hell can Barnes say its a step up for Pards to go there .Bottom line is we got wey better players than them at this moment in time.

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  27. After reading all these comments I’d forgotten what the post was about, but I’ll answer BB’s first. Personally I’d take top 4 over winning a cup, not a hard decision for me really. As Troy points out, moderately poor teams can win cups through a good run of ‘luck’.

    I know it’s been donkey’s years since we’ve won silverware, but for me playing well throughout a whole season of of 38 games for recognition is more important than a run of 8 or 9 games to get a cup. The fact that we’d finish top 4 makes us more likely to win a cup, for the simple fact that we’d be playing consistently better. We’d also attract better players, have better player retention, and financial stability with a Champions League spot. Easy choice for me.

    And on the topic of defensive improvement, yeah, our goal difference was absolutely shite and very poor for a 5th finish. The fact that we were 4 places below Man City and a whopping 60 POINTS (well almost) off them on goal difference says it all. We needed defensive reinforcements in January but we got someone in at the other end instead, hey-ho.

    Hopefully next season we’ll have a fit and raring to go Taylor back, plus another 2 or 3 extra CB/FBs. Definitely gearing us up for an improvement next year. Just hope fatty is sensible this window.

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  28. Interestingly, Lawrenson was on Irish radio yesterday and named 6 teams who Liverpool and fallen behind. Thankfully he mentioned the Toon, or I might have crashed ! It was nice to hear though. And would Barnes ever sod off???

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  29. Big Dave-For me mate, even Colo loses his head. You can tell he gets nervous once we’re 2-0 down, sometimes then tries to hard and just gets caught out of position constantly. That’s part of the problem-he is the captain but even he can lose once we’re down.

    Not blaming any individuals-Willo is the one i’d replace first but I don’t think its his fault, we just have some dodgy mentality 😕

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  30. I don’t think people are reading BB’s post correct, he didn’t say top 4 or trophy, he said top 6 or trophy. So 5th or 6th place with no trophy or 8th place and a trophy?…. I’ll stick with my original answer and take a trophy in the short term thanks.
    In regards to top 4, would people rather finish 4th every season and win nowt or 5-8th and win one of the cups every few years?

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  31. …OK then Rich, I think I veered off tangent through someof the earlier responses. Obviously my 4th dilemma still remains, but if it was a choice of acquiring a Europa League place through winning a cup or league finishing, it’s a no-brainer – cup.

    …and I’d rather finish 4th every season and win nowt, than win one of the cups every few years and miss out on Europe. I know I’ve twisted the question a bit there as well, but I am a twister. 😈

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  32. Rodz…I can understand top 4 to attract better players finances etc, but if you “never” win anything, whats the point?

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  33. ….sorry, meant to add, ya twisty fecker…..oh and enjoyed the “at the edge” lyrics a couple of weeks back(if ya can remember 😉 ) still got that on vinyl somwhere :mrgreen:

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  34. yeah Richie, I get your drift about “the point”, but for me I see top 4 being a prerequisite to eventually winning something, so it’s a bit of a funny question to answer really.

    ….ah yeah mate 😆 , the Rodzilla Cider Disco 😆 …I tend to put the heedferns on when I’m hammered and feel the need to let you blogsters know what I’m listening to. Nobody’s Heroes was one of my first ever albums as a nipper, and used to play it incessantly, but sold it in my early student days to raise beer money.

    I stumbled across ‘Nobody’s Heroes/Inflammable Material’ CD for a fiver in HMV earlier on in the day when I posted the lyrics up, and it took me right back. 😎 Fantastic albums.

    I remember getting into the skinhead/ska scene shortly after my SLF phase, and was well surprised to hear ‘Doesn’t Make It All Right’ on The Specials’ first album. I heard SLF’s cover first, which was a bit weird. 😯 I still have all my old original Ska vinyl, but not much of the punk survived, unfortunately. 😎

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  35. Rodz….Aye, it’s an awkward one. My point is I just want to see us win owt, then worry about world domination later….obviously it would be great to achieve both at the same time.

    I’ve still got a few but when I joined the Army left them in the care of my parents who seem to have lost most of them over the years, I know there’s a couple of SLF, Upstarts, Dickies 😳 and UK Subs(one of them blue vinyl). Aye ya can’t beat a bit of Ska…..I like most stuff really, which led to a very musically confused childhood at times :mrgreen:

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  36. hahaha, yeah same here mate. I can remember changing from punk to skinhead in an instant and getting abuse for it, seem to remember getting called a “poser” 😆 There’s not much I don’t listen to these days, apart from mainstream shite. Angelic Upstarts hahaha, I had ‘Last Night Another Soldier’ single, and a few Dickies singles too, ‘Nights in White Satin’ on white vinyl, and Paranoid. There were a lot of colour vinyl punk singles back then I seem to remember. All coming back in vogue now. Glad I’ve still got the majority of mi vinyl, and still use mi trusty old Rega turntable. What goes around, comes around… 😆 😎

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  37. the financial difference between finishing 4th and 5th is quite staggerring tbh. So ideally I would want to forgo any trophy, and just try and break into that elite top 4. With the extra revenue CL brings in, it will pay for better players, which should also pave the way to a trophy.
    Top 4 has to be our target next season, beyond a shaddow of doubt.
    Cant believe Arsenal fans bitch and whine because they have only been in top 4 for last 15 yrs, but haven’t won a trophy for 7 yrs.
    Cheesus wept 👿

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  38. BB…7years is a bit crap to start complaining, but it shows CL football isn’t enough on it’s own, it would be for a while but I refuse to believe any fans would be happy to just constantly qualify for the CL but never actually win owt.

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