John Carver says he felt proud after Newcastle’s second-half fightback against Arsenal on Saturday.
Not many would disagree with that reflection on his team’s perfromance.
However, the Newcastle Head Coach also claimed that United were in control of the game before Olivier Giroud scored the first of his two goals after 24 minutes.
“Proud, that is the first emotion, but disappointed because I thought we should have got something from the game. Up until they scored the goal, I thought we were in control of the game.
“I said to the guys at half-time, stick your chest out and give it a go, don’t be gung ho or silly, stay in your shape and break from your shape – I thought they did that and the second-half was fantastic.”
It would be nice to be like that first-half…:
“There were a lot of outstanding performances and that is encouraging, especially before a derby game. You don’t want to go into that game low on confidence.
“We have had a go the second-half and it would be nice to be like that first-half, but it wasn’t to be.”
My own take on the game was that the opening period was a bit scrappy but by the time Arsenal scored, I think they were getting well on top and Newcastle were simply defending for the vast majority of the time.
It is still a shocking statistic that United have only scored in the opening half hour of matches in two Premier League games out of thirty this season, two goals against Burnley and one against Southampton, both at St. James’ Park.
In contrast, Newcastle have conceded 17 goals in the first half hour of matches in this campaign.
John Carver needs to be looking at both his tactics and his players’ attitude from the start.
This couldn’t be more pressing when it is Sunderland up next.
Derby matches need total commitment from the first whistle and whilst Adam Johnson scored the only goal of the game very late on in December, the previous three derbies have been a very different story.
In all three games, Newcastle have handed Sunderland the initiative early on and the mackems have never looked back.
Last season at home, Newcastle were two goals down after only 23 minutes and went on to win 3-0, whilst the previous match at St. James’ Park it was Sessegnon who put the mackems a goal up after 27 minutes and they also went on to win 3-0.
At the Stadium of Light last year, Newcastle allowed Fletcher to score after only five minutes which helped Sunderland to a 2-1 win despite Debuchy’s consolation goal.
Have the current players the character to get at it v Sunderland from the start?
Waiting until they are two down as against Arsenal, will just not be good enough.