Following Islam Slimani’s first start for NUFC in Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton, Jamaal Lascelles has admitted that we made it hard for the Algerian to impress – suggesting our service up to him wasn’t good enough.
The 29-year-old on loan from Leicester showed glimpses of what he can do, looking strong, hard working, relatively quick and mobile, however he showed clear signs of ring rust – and that wasn’t helped by our poor play on the night and inability to play to his strengths.
Here’s what the skipper, Jamaal Lascelles, has had to say about Slimani after his first start for the club, insisting that he’s a good player, and hard worker, but someone we didn’t get good service into on Monday:
“He’s a good player and he settled in really well against Arsenal,”
“He worked hard for us at Everton but they made it hard for us to play and to give him good service. You can’t point the finger at anybody because we win as a team and lose as a team.”
“We didn’t really get the chance to get the ball down and play or get up the pitch to him. Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up and say fair play to Everton, because we gave our all.”
Lascelles is spot on here and it’s good of him to come out and defend Slimani after a quiet display at Goodison.
He was often a little isolated up front whenever we got the ball up to him, or, as Ayoze Perez proved, our final ball into him was often lacking.
What actually baffled me is how we suddenly started putting crosses into the box soon after Dwight Gayle replaced him on the hour mark. If you’ve ever seen him during his time with Leicester or Sporting Lisbon, you’d realise how potent he is in the air!
Five of his 8 goals in his debut season with Leicester came from crosses, with an incredible 24 of his 57 goals at Lisbon coming from headers also.
With that in mind, let’s hope we can get it out wide to Kenedy and Ritchie on Saturday and swing balls into the box for him to attack!