Poor show left United players seeing Red
NEWCA S - TLE United’s players were ‘angry’ and ‘quite upset’ with themselves following the Magpies’ 4-1 defeat against Manchester United on Saturday night. Echoing Steve Bruce’s post-match comments to the press, captain Jamaal Lascelles believed United ‘pushed on too much’ late on, despite not creating a real chance of note, and ‘should have shut up shop a little bit more’ and settled for a point.
Newcastle were fortunate to still be level with 85 minutes gone and the visitors went on to score three goals late on. As well as not offering a great deal going forward - admittedly David de Gea made a huge save early in the second half to deny Callum Wilson - Newcastle were not at best defensively in the 4-1 defeat and goalkeeper Karl Darlow was, again, far too busy.
Lascelles previously said Newcastle need to ‘try and change our mentality and have a bit more of a go’ but, after Luke Shaw put the ball through his own net early on, the Magpies retreated and were possibly wary of what the the visitors could do on the counterattack.
Yes, this Manchester United side went on to defeat Paris SaintGermain - last season’s Champions League finalists - a few days later, but the Red Devils’ leaky performances against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Spurs should have given Newcastle encouragement.
The manner in which Manchester United’s backline panicked as Jonjo Shelvey ran into space in the build-up to Shaw’s own goal should have given Newcastle a real boost.
However, a trip to Tyneside ultimately proved the ideal fixture for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to get back on track following a difficult start to the campaign.
Manchester United may be at their best on the counter-attack but if any team in the Premier
League has that much possession, territory and shots they are inevitably going to make you pay.
Imagine the roar if supporters had been in the stadium to witness Darlow’s penalty save before the hour mark - but opposing sides have found it easier to play on Tyneside since football went behind closed doors.
Jose Mourinho, who recorded his first Premier League win at St James’ last summer, has already spoken about how different the experience has been for him without fans in stadiums across the country.
He said: “It is easier because communication is very easy.
“The player on the other side of the pitch can listen to us. Our communication, of course, is
much easier but it is a more difficult job in the sense of motivating the players. Keep the focus, keep the concentration.”
Newcastle, like Spurs and every club in the Premier League, are also missing their supporters but the Magpies had won just two of their previous seven games at home before football went behind closed doors. In contrast, they had only lost one of their opening nine home league games last season.
Since Project Restart, Newcastle have only beaten Sheffield United and Burnley at St James’ Park and while the Magpies have picked up points on the road that is a record Bruce will be looking to improve.
Even if it does not quite feel like there is much of a home advantage at the minute.