Following our big win at Leicester, we reached out (once again) to Jamie Thorpe – a Foxes season ticket holder and admin at leading Leicester City fan page @first4lcfc – gaining his thoughts after he watched on from the stands at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
We asked him about the game itself, his take on our display, the NUFC players that stood out and the incidents that occurred in a game that wasn’t short on talking points.
See Q&A below, featuring some interesting insights from a man who was at the King Power Stadium to see it all unfold over the weekend:
Q1.) Saturday’s win was another huge one for us, not only pulling us well clear of the relegation mix but catapulting us into the top 10! I got the feeling you were below your best, but I also think we did very well to make it difficult. What did you make of our performance and the game itself? Worth winners?
“I think even the most ardent Leicester City supporter couldn’t argue that Newcastle were the better side on the day. You are spot on in your assessment: we weren’t really at the races for much of the game and Newcastle set up perfectly. In the first half I thought Benitez produced a tactical masterclass.
“Leicester are currently transitioning into a more possession based side, as the devastating counter attacking style of the past has been worked out. While we are getting there in flashes, there are certainly teething problems and Benitez set his side up to suit.
“There were always 11 men behind the ball when we were in possession and they were both well organised and hard working. This made it both tough for Leicester to play through the lines and to feed it long into the channels for Vardy to chase, meaning we either had to play it to Schmeichel or lump it high – bread and butter for Lejune and Lascalles.
“Going forward you transitioned very well and got the ball forward quickly and effectively. It was obvious that we missed the dynamism of Wilfred Ndidi as we struggled early on to match Newcastle in both pace and intensity and the goal, when it came, was deserved.
“In the preview I said Shelvey wasn’t consistent enough and was made to rue that, in the first half he was outstanding. He was afforded so much time by Leicester (dropping Okazaki was in hindsight the wrong move) and dictated the pace of the game with aplomb.
“Your fans were loud from the offset and responded to the positive football on show which had a clear effect on your players as they battled for everything.
“Second half was a different proposition. Whilst it wasn’t exactly backs to the wall for Newcastle, I felt the momentum certainly shifted as we were building up a head of steam and growing into the game. Changing Simpson for Albrighton changed things hugely as suddenly we could get Mahrez into the game more, and I was quite optimistic.
“Then our defence imploded. Take nothing away from the finish by Perez, but what on earth Maguire/Morgan/Schmeichel were doing I don’t know – and that deflated us massively.
“The desire and work-rate on show from the Newcastle players throughout was tremendous and they matched the levels shown by those in the stands. Whilst it wasn’t the one sided affair some may believe, Newcastle had a game plan, they executed it well, were clinical when it mattered and did enough to win the game. Leicester on the other hand, quite clearly have quality but simply did not show it enough.”
Q2) Did any of our players particularly impress you?
“As I mentioned Shelvey was influential in the first half and whilst I thought he exerted less attacking influence in the second he was always a presence defensively.
“Ritchie was a menace throughout with his running at both ends of the pitch and Diame was huge in the middle, it’s a shame Ndidi was suspended as that would be quite the match up.
“Kenedy stood out for me. He was resilient, hardworking, deceptively strong and effortless with the ball at his feet. An absolute menace.”
Q3) There were three big talking points in the game. Two penalty decisions that didn’t go your way and Maguire’s ‘push’ into Gayle’s face that only resulted in a yellow. What did you make of all those?
“Contentious at times, wasn’t it?! I’ll try to take my blue tinted glasses off for a second.
“Maguire can probably count himself somewhat fortunate to escape a red. Gayle certainly made the most of the shove but in this day and age if the hands go anywhere near the face it is dangerous territory – put it this way, I would have been in no way surprised had Attwell raised a red card.
“Neither myself nor my dad really appealed for the big penalty shout as we were completely certain the referee was about to give it! It seemed that Dummett got none of the ball and made contact with Mahrez who had finally managed to elude him. Even the usually placid Puel looked borderline apoplectic in his technical area.
“I haven’t seen the replay but it appeared to me that Diame has essentially kicked Vardy. It appeared quite innocuous so I’d imagine that’s why it wasn’t given, but again, one of those where you could understand if it was?”
Once again, we thank Jamie for taking the time to chat to us – especially after defeat.
An interesting assessment and one that was refreshingly unbiased. He was clearly impressed by NUFC, Rafa’s tactics and the away support who sung from first minute to last.