Siem de Jong says that the way Newcastle were set up against Aston Villa made it difficult for him to be effective.
The former Ajax man said that he couldn’t get onto the ball as much as he would like and this is understandable considering Steve McClaren’s post-match comments, where he admitted that even against a really poor Aston Villa, he was happy to try and hit them on the break, rather than trying to dominate possession.
Siem de Jong is clearly a player whose strength is his clever play with the ball, not breaking at pace, so it does point to a bit of a problem as to what is the point of selecting the Dutch international if you aren’t going to put him in a formation/style that suits him.
De Jong of course was instantly subbed after missing a golden chance to wrap up the game, the midfielder saying that he got his header ‘5cm’ wrong.
At the time it seemed like really poor management by Steve McClaren to take Siem de Jong off after he’d just missed such a sitter, even though the substitution was being prepared at the same time as that passage of play.
However, the player himself says that he was never going to last the full game anyway, due to having a cold, so it was obviously a pre-arranged move.
Surely with players such as Ayoze Perez, Siem de Jong and Gini Wijnaldum, Newcastle should aspire to play more attractive possession based football.
For that to happen though, the emphasis has to be moved away from playing an extra two defenders (any two of Tiote, Anita and Colback) in the middle of midfield.
Siem de Jong:
“It was an important moment, I tried to head it into the short corner… but I did it 5cm too far. I was trying to place it because I saw the keeper at the far post, so I wanted to head it short but it slipped off my head.
“I went off after that but we did have two other chances to win it.”
“It is not so much that I need a goal, it is just that I want to take the chances that I get.
“In the first half I played all right with some through balls but the way we played…made it difficult for me to get on the ball as much as I wanted.
“Obviously it is tough for me, these are my first few games in the Premier League.
“I had only started one game before this run and it is still something I’m getting used to. I’m doing what I can to help the team.
“I am happy to be back and playing, a tough game on a tough pitch and I had a little bit of a cold so I couldn’t play longer.
“I you see the last three games, it wasn’t our best performance, but I think in the first half we made it impossible for Villa to play and they had to kick it long and we won a lot of balls.
“I feel we are making steps, even when it was not our best performance we got a draw.
“Of course you’re going to lose sometimes, but we have got to fight and make opponents work very hard if they’re going to get a win.”
(Interesting to read what the Aston Villa fans had to say about the match, read that HERE)