Perhaps one of the most common criticisms to come from the game at Anfield last weekend was the lack of application from Newcastle.
You can jostle that with our lack of cutting edge if you like, but to be honest I always kind of half-expected that we’d struggle in an attacking sense. What I don’t, and never will, accept is a lack of effort on our part. Nothing less than 100% will do for me, which is why I was so annoyed last weekend. It wasn’t the defeat, it was the manner of the defeat which did me.
Which is why it’s rather alarming to read Alan Pardew’s comments today. He says that he is also alarmed by a lack of application and has picked up on a lack of focus on the training ground this week.
“The hunger and character of the team is what’s driven us and if we let that fall away then we won’t win. Our points tally doesn’t allow us to relax, but you can sometimes sense on the training ground that our focus has dipped a little bit. We need to make sure we’re on top of that as a staff, that we’re doing our best and the players need to focus quickly because this is an important game,” Pardew told The Journal.
Hmm. A dip in focus? I can see why as we have very little to play for in reality, but these are professional players who should be up for every game. They are paid handsomely to go out there and play to their maximum each time they take to the field so if they aren’t doing that then they aren’t doing their job. I will be watching that very closely.
Pardew continued: “Making sure we don’t coast for the rest of the season is something I’ve got to focus on. We have a professional respect that we handle ourselves very well in these remaining games.”
“Speaking to other managers it’s a difficult period when you get past that 40-point mark, and we’re experiencing that.”
Personally I won’t accept another performance lacking in effort and application although realistically there is very little I could do about apart from write some harsh words and allow everyone a chance to grumble about it.
The most disappointing thing for me is that I know they can do better. Sure the team needs improving, but they got this far on hard work and team spirit and if they let that slip they will have nothing much to offer at all.
Still, let’s see how the game pans out first.
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.