Following back-to-back defeats to Burnley and Bournemouth prior the international break, we have slipped from the top six down to 11th place – however Jonjo Shelvey has hit back at the NUFC critics, insisting that our start to the season and position in the table must still be seen in a positive light.
Admittedly, our performances in the last two haven’t been good enough, coinciding in disappointing 1-0 defeats on each occasion, however Shelvey has criticised those who have suggested it has been a poor start to the season as a result, stating that being 11th in the league represents a solid effort for any newly promoted club:
“I think people should remember how well we’ve actually done this season. We’re sitting in 11th place and we’re a newly-promoted team.
“There’s a lot of expectation, which comes with this football club, but I think we’ve done very well so far to be five points clear of the relegation zone.
“Obviously, we’ve got a difficult Christmas period coming up, but I’m sure that we’ll be all right. I think we’ve started well enough to make sure we stay up in this league.”
Shelvey is spot on here. It’s fair to have been frustrated by our recent results, but you can’t get away from the fact that we have still shown several signs that we are a side more than capable of staying up this season – the main aim of this season.
One thing that has been evident is the way we’ve been punished for lacklustre displays, with our lack of firepower in the final third catching us out this season – something that Shelvey admits wasn’t always punished in the Championship last term:
“This is the big difference between the Championship and the Premier League. You make one mistake, and you’re punished for it. Whereas in the Championship, you can probably get away with it three or four times,”
“In this league, there’s no getting away with it, so it’s just a matter of trying to rectify those mistakes and being more clinical in front of goal.”
A strong and much needed message for us all to consider here.
Recent defeats may have sobering, bringing us back down to earth after a spell in the top six, but we’re 11th in the table and have looked up for the fight and strong defensively – something we have not been able to say about many NUFC sides recently!