Alan Shearer has criticised Dan Burn, Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Targett for their lacklustre displays in Sunday’s humiliating 5-1 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He’s also questioned Howe’s decision to put Jonjo Shelvey in at centre-back at one stage in the second half, saying it was a move he “didn’t really understand.”
Starting with Burn, Shearer feels he’s “really struggled” in the last few games, with the usually reliable centre-back caught in no man’s land a few too many times on Sunday to allow Spurs acers of space in behind.
The NUFC legend also felt Saint-Maximin “didn’t give anything” and was critical of Aston Villa loanee Matt Targett, feeling he was not “strong enough” after being beaten to the ball for Ben Davies header and Emerson Royal’s second half tap-in.
Here’s what he said after the game while on punditry duty for Premier League Productions:
“Dan Burn, who has had a lot of praise and rightly so during the early part of his Newcastle career…he has really struggled in the last 2-3 games.
“He has struggled massively in that second half.
“But he wasn’t the only one.
“Saint-Maximin didn’t give anything.
“For some reason, they put Jonjo Shelvey as a third centre-half, which I didn’t really understand.
“Targett was not good enough or strong enough.
“They were all over the place. We can go through every single member of the Newcastle team and criticise.”
Shearer then went on, saying this defeat was “reality check” for everyone at the club ahead of a big summer on Tyneside and an unacceptable display where we got exactly what we deserved – something we couldn’t say after narrow defeats at Chelsea and Everton:
“It’s a reality check to the Newcastle squad, to the Newcastle management and to the Newcastle owners,”
“To just say, ‘Yes, we’ve had a good time of late, but we’ve been done now in the last three games against Chelsea, Everton and in this one’
“Chelsea and Everton were, perhaps, acceptable, but this is not in the second half.
“It’s nowhere near good enough and, as I said, it’s definitely a reality check because Newcastle are going to sign players in the summer and the players need to realise that they’re not safe at this football club just because of the run they’ve had.
“They were in huge danger of being relegated at Christmas time and they’ve had a decent run since January and brought in some players, but the players now need to know that they’re fighting for their places.”
Hopefully the players react when Wolves come to town on Friday, with them not only playing for our Premier League status but their future’s at the club.