Sam Allardyce has highlighted our added time off as a “massive advantage” going into Sunday’s clash with West Brom.
The Baggies boss aired his frustration following their 1-0 defeat to Everton on Thursday night and didn’t seem happy at the fact we did not have a midweek fixture to deal with.
A spirited performance was ultimately in vain as Richarlison bagged an 65th minute winner to hand the Premier League’s 19th placed side another devastating loss.
Big Sam praised his players, but also questioned whether it would be too much of a big task to repeat the feat just over 48 hours later:
Allardyce also spoke about the news that Steve Bruce has been embroiled in a training ground bust-up with Matt Ritchie, and seemed far from impressed by the reaction.
“It’s a disagreement – what’s wrong with it? I like disagreements.
“I like people to air their views and argue. It means they care.
“We should speak up for ourselves and not be subservient if we feel like we’ve been wronged. If the player says it to you as the manager and feels that you’re wrong, why not speak up?
“Say what you feel, there’s nothing wrong with it. Then you sort it out, get on with it, it’s forgotten the next day – or should be. It’s a good thing having disagreements and digging each other out.
“This world is, unfortunately, getting far too pathetic as far as I’m concerned in terms of criticism or telling people that they’re not giving the right attitude, or a player telling a manager: I think you’re wrong. What’s wrong with it?
“It should galvanise. People always want to make too much fuss about it, because bad news is good news.
“They love writing about it and reporting on it.
“I find it laughable, let’s put it that way.”
Both Bruce and Allardyce are cut from similar cloth, so a few harsh words between men on the training ground likely isn’t anything new.
Watching it all play out in the media has been poor and made our club look like a high-school playground – I can agree with Allardyce on that.
However, where he has slightly tweaked the truth is by saying we go into the game with some sort of advantage.
The NUFC treatment table is full of our best players, with us going into our biggest game of the season without our first-choice front three of Saint-Maximin, Almiron and Wilson. Hardly a position we are glad to be in!
Big Sam also relished the opportunity that Sunday brings his side, pointing out that a win for West Brom gives them an outside chance of survival. Defeat, however, effectively relegates them back to the Championship:
“If we beat Newcastle, we’re only six points away from them. If we lose, we’re 12 points away. That would make it as big a task as anybody has achieved to try and stay in the Premier League with the number of games that are left.
“It could still be done mathematically, but it would make life extremely difficult. That’s how big this one is.”