The winning mentality

The winning mentality
How important is a winning mentality within a team? And how important is continuity with regard to keeping hold of one once you’ve got it within a team?

As things stand we have a pretty strong winning mentality within the squad in my opinion. Of course a winning mentality is not a secret formula that can win every game, but it does ensure that heads don’t drop too far should we suffer a defeat.

You can’t measure what a difference a change in mentality makes although you can witness the results with the naked eye. As fans of Newcastle United we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum in the last few years, but if you look back you can pretty much draw a line under the team pre-relegation and start again from scratch post-relegation.

The subject of whether we would be where we are now if we hadn’t been relegated has been done before, and whilst I agree with the point that all the changes we’ve seen – recruitment, scouting, financial etc – could’ve been made in the Premier League, I think it would have been harder to change the mentality within the dressing room.

In that sense we owe a great deal of gratitude to our season in the Championship and to Chris Hughton for instilling this kind of mentality that has, so far at least, been carried forward as the team continues to evolve. It was great going into Championship games knowing that we’d likely come out with a result born from hard work and true grit which was then transferred to the Premier League upon our return.



Of course the instigator was soon harshly moved on and it was left to Alan Pardew – who recently thanked Hughton for instilling the winning mentality in the first place – to carry it onwards, along with a nucleus of players that have now also departed.

Fortunately though enough remained to carry on, and perhaps improve, the winning mentality that had been built up previously. New players bought into it and excelled when many expected them to fail, which would have also been a factor in building up harmony within the team. That harmony has seen us qualify for Europe, and has left us at a crossroads at the same time…

Our squad needs strengthening if we are to try and emulate what happened last season. We are likely to have more fixtures for a start with our participation in the Europa League and, heaven forbid, should we actually progress to the latter rounds of the domestic cup competitions we’ll be looking at playing somewhere in the region of 60 games next season.

Add to that the fact that we are losing quite a lot players – some of whom probably won’t actually be missed on the field of play but may have been fairly important behind the scenes – and we face a problem of continuity. Granted our scouting network (like most should) will look at the character of a player when considering him which helps, but it can still take time for a player to settle, or indeed settle at all.

Hopefully we can carry it on. We have the players to do that at the moment and any signings made should be able to fit in with them, compliment them even, but there is always a risk associated with any transfer and one of the most important factors to consider is not financial, it is instead the ability to be able to fit in with this team ethic and winning mentality that has been born over the last few years.

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.

70 thoughts on “The winning mentality

  1. I Think The winning mentality is half of a players talent!
    I have seen fantastic talents over The years with super skills being to “lazy” to get anything out of their talent because they lack in winning mentality.
    Mentality is half of The game!

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  2. Toonsy ,nice topic. Look at the current England squad ,no one gave them a chance of getting out the group, pre tournament ,I know I didn’t ,yet it seems to have galvanised the side to prove us all wrong ,so far. We can make a direct comparrison with Toon I believe as early doors we were completely written off by all and sundry .Fast forward to January and we were right up there ,”it won’t last” said the pundits and ” they ain’t played anyone yet” said rival fans .Thing is they all missed the point in that we had a point to prove and a damn good manager and team spirit ,so yes I think a winning mentality is everything. What’s also interesting is that in players like Cabaye and even Santon, these players have won various honors already and so are used to putting in the work and have the belly for the fight as it were. I’m sure that Pards ,Carr &co will have extensive dosiers on any player they want to recruit in regard to their mentality.Even if they are a wee bit problematic ala Benny ,they most likely can set them straight. πŸ˜‰

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  3. Thats why we don’t need to buy many players. Man Utd only bring in 1 or 2 a season. That keeps the continuity and unity.
    Granted we need more strengthening cos of Euro qualification this season but 3 or 4 is max.

    Personally, I see us only getting 1 or 2 tho.

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  4. I think things would be very different now had we not got relegated…

    Anyway winning mentality is very important, I’ve got one, never been beaten at anything πŸ˜›

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  5. I agree with Troy 😯

    Central defender is a necessity.

    RB would be nice, striker would be nice and centre mid would be nice.

    Don’t understand the huge desire for new players from a lot of people. We are only playing with one striker, sure we lose some to the ACON but we still “as it stands” have 5 on the books. Best has shown on different occasions that he can step it up over a short period.

    Don’t think right back is essential if Simmo signs up, he isn’t the greatest in the world but LB and CB were a lot weaker for us last season so imo they need shoring up first. Hopefully we’ll see a defensively sound Santon this season.

    Also don’t believe we will sign a winger. Atm we have LW: Ba/Marveaux/Jonas/Sameobi and RW: HBA/Obertan

    Can’t see us signing there unless we sell.

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  6. Troy
    Well we’ve already got one new player in Amifilitano, I reckon we still need 3 more, a CB(backup), a full-back to replace the departing Simpson and a backup Striker with many of them having left (now best as well). I also think the club wants another midfielder as we’ve shown interest in more of them than CBs this summer.

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  7. ST
    Do you include Adam Campbell and JJ Hooper in your “5 strikers on our books” comment, if so than I believe that it’s far too early for them, also Ranger will prob leave soon so we have only the Dembas and Wor Shola as recognised professional strikers.

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  8. Yeah a winning mentality is what makes a good team a winning team.
    As for players needed I think we need more than 1 or 2 as off yet we don’t know who all we will have lost but atm its Loven and Smith so they need replaced aswell as what we were allready short on πŸ˜‰

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  9. Toonsy – a winning mentality is important, but in my opinion, keeping a sense of perspective is equally important – both as an individual and a team.
    There is a line from Rudyard Kiplings poem IF…
    which I think is displayed at Wimbledon tennis club, and reads:

    If you can meet Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.

    The reality is that we aren’t going to win every game, and some games we’ll get a good hiding. Equally we will win games we were expected to,
    but as long as we don’t overreact to either outcome then you generally find that gives stability and a level of success.

    The same goes for players, a keeper may drop a clanger, a striker may go through a drought infront of goal but if you keep perspective, work hard and get the basics right, then you generally find things come good.

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  10. @Andy, I haven’t looked into the Best scenario tbh, have you got any decent links on the story?

    I’m a massive sceptic on transfer rumours unless i see photos or official verification.

    So atm we’re hugely up on strikers from this time last season, firstly we’ve replaced Loven with Cisse, secondly our formation change means we only technically play with one striker.

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  11. ST so who are we going to rely on scoring the goals to win games when Ba ( if he’s still here) and Cisse are away to the ACON πŸ˜‰

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  12. [email protected] what aboot wor star forward shola πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  13. @Dave, what apart from goal machines Shola and Ranger?! πŸ˜†

    Obviously it’s not ideal, and i’m just looking at it under the presumption we don’t lose anyone. Can’t see us splashing the cash on someone that will be 3rd choice striker in a one striker formation for the sake of a few games in January. Best stepped up when Carroll for a good half season. And we were fine for goals when Ba jetted off this January.

    Obviously if Ba goes I’d be more inclined to believe we were in the hunt for a proven back up striker, if Best goes I think it will be more along the lines of someone young with potential.

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  14. Given that we have released quite a lot of reserve players do we also need to build up the reserves and isn’t that the aim?

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  15. ST it could be more than a ” few games ” as for Best stepping up Im pretty sure he scored in 2 games out of 18 games last season so I wouldn’t like to be counting on him, TBH if he is away to b/burn i’ll be happy enough because IMO he is not good enough same as Shola

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  16. ST – LW Sammi and Marv have had very little game time for us, and Jonas was poor last season, that’s not to say they cant come good next season. RW – Obertan was very poor last season and for me HBA isn’t an out and out right winger. His most effective position is right of a front 3 or thru the middle, off a main CF or head of a diamond midfield behind front 2.

    As Andy pointed out, our young uns are still a way off being ready yet. Man Utd may only bring 1-2 in but they have the De Silva bros come thru the ranks for full back, Johnny Evans, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. Half the team coming through the ranks. That’s where we need to get to.

    On a different note, anyone know much about this Polish defender were linked with on a free, also if we are supposed to be looking to buy the Swedish lad from City or loan?

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  17. Ice – I’d defo buy the kid, just don’t fancy loaning him to increase his value for Man City’s gain.
    He’d be a good option for the young CF I was on about the other day.

    I don’t know anything of the Polish lad though.

    Anyone watching the footy? Ronnie looks like he fancies it again the neet

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  18. AYE watching footy really like to watch that PEPE think hes a top defender,
    watch him have have stinker noo ive said that

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  19. @Dave, no European games in January, at the most it would be like 4/5 league games.

    @Sharpy Jonas was in no way poor!! Outrageous statement.

    Don’t understand why people are contesting what i’ve said, i agree our squad could be stronger, however we simply aren’t going to buy left wingers etc when we already have a Marv/Jonas on a good 40k each. Same goes for up front, playing 4-2-3-1 means we aren’t going to sign Gudetti/De Jong or someone of that calibre unless Ba leaves.

    I don’t want to see vast changes tbh, one or two gaping holes aside I’m really proud of how our back up players did last year and believe they deserve another season close to involvement with the team.

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  20. ST maybe ime missing something but is the point to improve the team yr on yr with better quality 😐

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  21. ST we should always looking to improve and normally that means buying better players. A lot are saying to buy a bench CB well I think we should be buying a top CB to fight it out wit Saylor and Colo, good player need competition to keep them on their toes.

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  22. Dave
    By a bench player I reckon we are saying a player who whilst fighting for a starting XI place may be the backup player. He’ll be fighting out with Saylor as no one will replace the Cpt, someone has to be on the bench.

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  23. Ronaldo good goal the wee tosser πŸ˜€
    Andy quite a few think we just need an extra bench warming CB, as for no one replacing the Captain if he doesn’t perform well he like anyone else should be dropped, and what if he got injuried πŸ˜•

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  24. Fuck me, Jonathan Pearce is annoying.

    “Why….. does he speak…….. with pauses……………… to emphasize…. everything…………….Like he’s reading…………. some profound…………. monologue………”

    Shut up already you twat!!! πŸ™„

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  25. I got to admit Portugal deserved that win but I can’t stand Ronaldo and what the hells he got on his hair ,it’s like an oil slick goin on .

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  26. ST – you were obviously watching a different Jonas to me then, he wasn’t shite but it was far from his best season with us … he was poor, and that is my opinion.
    I don’t know if you saw my post the other day but I suggested if we bought De Jong and Debuchy (was papers that day said we bid for both) we would still need a CB, DCM and a young centre forward …. No mention of a LW or RW.
    I agree that the current back up players deserve their chances next season, and they will with the extra games, but we were quite lucky with injuries last season, it’s my opinion that you need 2 players for each position and with the players who have left and it looking likely that Best, Ranger and Simmo heading out – plus Ba still hasn’t committed himself, we don’t have that cover.
    The fact is we played 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 last season, not 4-2-3-1 so Pardew will go after players for the formations he favours.

    Ice – Pepe and Ronnie are different class, both would be in my tournament dream team so far

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  27. KIM for me neither team have a out and out striker to talk aboot,think there at there limit now,but with tar heed always got a chance to score

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  28. SHARPY got to disagree a bit on jonas i think he does a lot of un-seen graft and i love a 100% grafter in a team but thats just me πŸ˜‰

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  29. Ice – wouldnt dispute that, but as an offensive threat I think he’s had better seasons. I think of the 2 formations, he looked better on the left of a 3 man midfield rather than wide left of a 4 man midfield. I’m a fan of Jonas and can’t fault his workrate, but creativity was below average last season. I think Fergie is a good prospect for that position – hence I don’t think we need buy for that position.

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  30. Ice – if Best, Ranger and Simmo leave – how many players would you say we need in and where?

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  31. SHARPY i would say 3/4 in a c/b for sure young full back a long with young fergie would make us quite strong some say fergie hasnt got the build to play there,so baines and cole are heavywieghts like,and a striker two if ba goes and being greedy a m/f player i like strengh it depth

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  32. Ice – maybe me going for 5 was a bit greedy then πŸ™„ 😳
    I do hope that our long term aim is to develop from within so we get to a position were like Troy and ST say that we would only need to bring in 1-2 players.

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  33. I see the ‘Arsenal joins Chelsea in the race for Newcastle ace’ story regarding HBA is all over Newsnow. They don’t seem to realise that we’d ask for loads of money which would put off even Chelsea. Some are suggesting that Β£15m would be enough, if either comes in with that I’d say “Bugger off, add on five million and Walcott/Sturridge and we might think about it”.

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  34. ANDY the way of the footy world mate every player has a price even m/u,chelsea,ect cannot hold on to players if the right offers come in,nobody wants to lose him,but remember one man doesnt make a team πŸ˜‰

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  35. [email protected] ,We all know what this is all about. It’s the London press trying their upmost to unsettle Toon for having the nerve to make a challenge on the top 6. For years the press has gotten umpteen pages of news from the circus that was Newcastle united .Now they face a closed shop and a serious club going about the job in a business like way with committed staff and players ,who all performed well despite all their dire predictions pre season . They hate the fact that they get nowt out the club anymore so attempt to make up any old bollocks ,it’s the worst type of journolisim and worst still,assumes it’s readers are all idiots. πŸ‘Ώ

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  36. Andy – ya dead right there mate, Β£15m wouldn’t buy his right leg!!
    I don’t believe a word of it personally, but then they haven’t written about Cabaye or Tiote or Ba or Cisse so why not through Benny in the mix

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  37. Jon R

    That made me laugh… You are so right…

    I pointed out how he breathes and pauses during the World Cup final and ruined the game for everyone watching.

    It….. is so very… (breeeeeathe)…. annoying!

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  38. Ice
    True, still annoys me with the rubbish spouted though.
    Kim
    It’s sad that we have a rented space in all sports journalists mind were they feel they must discredit us in some way.
    Sharpy
    Even willo has been linked with a move away, and I won’t even get started on Carr(than f-ck for MA getting a new contract for him :mrgreen: ).
    And with that I’m off, got two history presents to talk about first thing tomoz. 😯 πŸ˜‰

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  39. Ice
    Just saw that, interesting if true, most thought we wouldnt increase the bid. Don’t think we’d pay that much for a back-up player, maybe Ba has said to club officials that he plans to leave and thats why we’ve stepped up interest.

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  40. ANDY i can see it with ba,best,and ranger going saved a fair bit on wages to cover it over a couple of seasons mate

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  41. [email protected] ,well ,that’s interesting we must rate the lad then. πŸ˜€

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  42. KIM from the little ive seen of him seems to play off the front striker sort off just behind,dont know if pardew will play him like that πŸ˜•

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  43. ICE, Goal.com understands that it is thought Twente president Munsterman will not settle for less than Β£18m 😯 😯 😯 πŸ˜† ,Not a chance, if we paid that I would be fuming as that’s crazy.

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  44. KIM if thats true its up to the player imo if he asks to go hes saddled with a unhappy player hes donald ducked

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  45. Kim @55 Not that it makes a lot of difference, but Goal.com have cocked up the figures – they’ve got their pounds and euros mixed up.

    I did see this article of theirs which said that we’d bid €14.9m and that Munsterman would not settle for less than €22.4m (which would be the euro equivalent of the Β£18m that you mentioned):
    http://www.goal.com/en/news/1549/rest-of-europe/2012/06/21/3192058/newcastle-in-12m-swoop-for-dutch-striker-de-jong-report

    They named the Dutch newspaper AD Sportwereld as their source, and I’m guessing this is the article they were referring to:
    http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/4562/Voetbal/article/detail/3274741/2012/06/21/TT-Newcastle-verhoogt-bod-op-De-Jong-Sparta-wil-Buijs.dhtml

    I don’t speak Dutch, but it isn’t too difficult to work out that “achttien miljoen euro” means eighteen million euros, not pounds. Which converts to approx Β£15m. Instead, Goal.com read it as eighteen million pounds, and converted it to the figure of €22.4m that they quoted in their article.

    Oops 😳

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  46. Kind of a rehash of the link yesterday πŸ˜‰

    Your press seems to be as lazy as ours, “the clubs have been in talks for 7 weeks” then there’s been no contact for weeks” πŸ™„

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  47. Rich, I am trying to keep you up the date :mrgreen:

    That wombat is a pup, you should see the ones we get here in the west 😯 πŸ˜†

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  48. Rich, do you normally do a lot of online exploring for wombat stories in your spare times.. or are you an avid wombat enthusiast πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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  49. I’m an avid wombat enthusiast πŸ˜† …it was on Sky’s main page yesterday for some bizarre reason, slow news day I guess.

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  50. Rich πŸ˜†
    Yeah I just checked News Now…. not much new there… Hatem having a blue with his manager is the only story of interest.. I can see De Jong becoming this seasons Gamerio/Erdic’ A lot of press huff and puff and not much else….

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  51. Cwarr on twitter saying that we’ve gone back with a final offer of 14.9m Euro for De Jong. Wonder who his sorce is? πŸ™„

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  52. Also good to read De Jongs again saying the Luuk fancies playing for Newcastle. Of course he gave it the ‘other clubs are interested’ line and said that Luuk has knocked back clubs he doesnt fancy, so at least we know he’d be coming for footballing reasons and not just the money … If he does come that is.

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  53. Rossco…probably the same source as mine, mine reckons we went in with a bigger offer(he reckoned closer to Β£10m and that the deal would be completed shortly after the window opens….as I said last yeterday though, he’s generally wrong so a huge pinch of salt needed….but he’s due a “right” one and I reckon this could be it. πŸ˜•

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  54. Well fingers crossed he is. Still… I think there is too much noise on this one. His agent is quoted today with lots to say how he’s rejected other clubs but NUFC interest him. Followed by his sales pitch along the lines of :

    “They are not the only club that has shown an interest, there has been a lot of clubs from all over Europe. More than five or six – but that is normal for a player who has scored 25 goals in the Eredivisie and is in the national side.”

    “It has got to be the right club for Luuk, and a club that Luuk likes. He has already rejected several clubs who are interested because they are not the right move. I can confirm that Newcastle are not one of the clubs that he has rejected.

    “He would be the perfect fit for the Premier League. He is only young and there is no doubt about his quality – no-one is debating that.

    Seems as though he would like to come but his agent can’t help but transmit how good he is.

    Can’t wait til July 1st for the rumours to really start flying!

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