In my last piece I asked the question which NUFC would turn-up. The one who tore Bournemouth apart or the one who surrendered in that Man City massacre.
In the end I think we got both, but what we also got was a lesson in reality. This squad is not good enough and nor is this manager.
First half it was football boots. We weren’t particularly great but we bossed the game and had Maxi scored that one-on-one I think it would have been game over against a fragile Watford side. Second half and they’d obviously changed into their flip-flops thinking The Hornets wouldn’t sting them.
How wrong they were. A catalogue of errors, misplaced passes, no aggression and defensively from the front to the back we were awful. In truth as soon as Watford showed fighting spirit ours was let them have it, I don’t want to be injured for the beach.
Add in some truly horrendous decisions from the manager particularly on the substitutions and then his bizarre comments after the game and you had yet another NUFC horror show that simply should not happen.
What ever happened at half-time and whatever was said it was certainly a different disunited side that came out after the break. Just when we thought the orange strips might be the key to our success we got well and truly tangoed!
For me it starts from the manager. Selecting an out-of-form, disinterested centre-back in midfield in front of a young local lad bursting to show his worth and a loan player who needs to show his was wrong, just plain wrong.
Before the game I made the statement that I wouldn’t have Schar anywhere neither the squad let alone starting. Nothing that happened on Saturday changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big Schar fan last season and even at the start of this. But since the restart he’s been genuinely awful and doesn’t look happy at all.
I would also question the selection of Ritchie for this game. Surely, we need to find out about Lazaro? Unless of course the manager has already made his mind up which does seem to be the case.
The rest of the team for me was correct and I think showed that in the first half. But once the home side levelled, we just seemed to hit the self-destruct button. Ritchie off was fair enough but why Joelinton? I’m afraid whether wide left or through the middle the big fella looks lost.
I can’t see anyone wanting to take him off our hands unless it’s for less than half we paid for him so we’ll have to hope he comes good but he looks well short of Premiership class to me. I hope I’m wrong as if he stays it seems he’ll play under the current regime.
Surely Lazaro should have been brought on first. But when you consider that he was only brought on because Lascelles picked up an injury then I think that’s all you need to know. The current regime is not going to pay £20m for a backup player that’s for sure and any new owners will more than likely spend their money elsewhere.
Then we had Krafth for Rose. Rose hadn’t played well but he hadn’t played badly either. Well, perhaps he had because they were all terrible second half but considering he can’t play against Tottenham he should have stayed on. But no, Manqy gets switched to left-back and we all know what happened next!
Bentaleb for Gayle was truly bizarre and smelled of surrender. It was 1-1 so let’s take our only goal threat off, shore up the midfield and leave with a “satisfactory” point. That certainly worked and again it shows that the manager is yet to be convinced by the ex-Tottenham player.
Worse was to come. After the game, the Manager called both penalties soft. Mmmmmm? Possibly the first one but definitely not the second and for what it’s worth had the first one occurred in the opposite box I think we would all be shouting penalty.
They were both penalties to me but what they also where was needlessly conceded and that’s what the manager should have been more concerned about. But not our Manager. He thought we weren’t getting the right decisions and said it was the fourth time in a few days.
Then bizarrely he says, “I’m not one to make excuses but to lose games the way we did there, with big decisions, is difficult to accept.” Sounds like an excuse to me just like the one at City did when he didn’t want to make excuses but pointed out we had eight missing.
No, I’m afraid he just got it wrong on Saturday. Initial selection, incorrect and virtually meaningless substitutions, and then bizarre statements at the final whistle. I will always be grateful that he did enough to keep us in the division but I believe he can do no more than that for us going forward.
Tottenham come to Toon next. They have something to play for as they want to get into Europe. They also have Harry Kane. Mourinho has never won at Newcastle. These are all ominous signs to me.
Will it be football boots or flip-flops or will it be one of each? We await with breath abated.