Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow says he has been left wondering why the team didn’t ‘click’ more often after the final day hammering of Tottenham.
Along with the fans (of both teams), Darlow says ‘I couldn’t really believe it’ as United went down to 10 men and yet added three more goals without reply.
There had been previous accusations from former players and pundits that in earlier games the players only really started playing once they were a goal or two behind in many matches, the thinking being that with no expectation the team would then start playing.
Sunday could have been the ultimate manifestation of that, the team already relegated and suddenly all the players ‘clicking’ together…though others have pointed to motivation of being picked for the Euros AND attracting the attention of other clubs ahead of the summer transfer window.
Many of Newcastle’s problems in the relegation run-in appeared to stem from a hangover after the Steve McClaren regime was swept away. McClaren having sent his team out week in week out with the mentality of trying not to concede a goal, rather than trying to score first – a tactic which invariably led to Newcastle conceding first and rarely recovering.
This ingrained mentality was obviously difficult to shift, as Rafa Benitez was left shaking his head as United conceded the first goal in six of his first seven matches in charge.
For Karl Darlow personally, he has grabbed his opportunity really well in these final eight games of the season under Rafa Benitez.
The unbeaten last half dozen saw him keep three clean sheets and only concede four goals as United picked up 12 points from 18.
Arguably he should have done better with Lamela’s strike on Sunday but that apart, Darlow has been very impressive this past month, with that victory earning penalty save presumably the pick of his games this season.
With it being touch and go as to whether Tim Krul will be ready for 6 August and the Championship kick-off and Rob Elliot not expected back until later, having played the previous three seasons in the Championship as first choice at Nottingham Forest, Karl Darlow looks set to start next season between the sticks.
Let’s hope things are clicking for the players from the first whistle in August.
Karl Darlow speaking to the official club website:
“It was a crazy game…
“You saw from the performance how much quality we can show on our day. Unfortunately, we haven’t shown it enough this season but to go out with a victory like that against such a good team like Tottenham, is brilliant.
“I couldn’t really believe it. We were down to ten men and ahead by a goal for the last 20 minutes and I was expecting a really difficult end to the game.
“You expect us just to sit back and avoid conceding again but we played Spurs on the counter attack ruthlessly and we got our reward.
“It’s a weird feeling having won 5-1 but still being disappointed and frustrated, because it makes you question why we haven’t clicked like that more often.
“I would have loved to have kept another clean sheet so it’s a bit disappointing, at the end of the day we have won 5-1 so I can’t beat myself up too much because it’s a good way to end the season and hopefully it sets us up for a strong start to next season.
“It’s a shame to be relegated: just too little, too late in the end. We have put a good run of games together and gone six unbeaten so it’s even more disappointing to go down like this.
“But there’s nothing we can do about it now, we just need to look ahead and build for next season.”