Jamaal Lascelles was well pleased with his team’s efforts after Reading 0 Newcastle o, especially when it came to the defence.
The first goalless draw of the season made it seven points from nine on the road, after the trickiest week of the season.
Jesus Gamez was the third right-back used in these three matches and Lascelles pointed to the Spaniard’s (and others) patience as an important factor in Newcastle’s success.
The 33 year old defender was Captain of Malaga and a La Liga stalwart for both them and Atletico Madrid, as well as playing Champions League football, yet Tuesday night was only his second Championship start of the season.
In over four and a half hours of football in the past week, Newcastle haven’t conceded a single goal in normal play, only the two soft penalties at Brighton and Huddersfield going past the likes of Lascelles and keeper Karl Darlow.
Rafa Benitez builds his sides from the back and sets great store by discipline and organisation, his players have done him great credit in this trio of matches, proof that it is character more than anything else that looks set to see Newcastle return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Newcastle now make a welcome return to St James Park and a home game against Fulham, who are one of the form teams in the second tier and desperately battling to get into the play-offs.
With 10 games to go, Rafa Benitez will be taking no prisoners when it comes to instilling in the players the fact that it is not quite a job completed just yet.
Jamaal Lascelles speaking to the official club website:
“We all know how hard it is to get three points every week.
“We have got the players but the Championship is a tough league.
“We are doing very well and we are going in the right direction but there is a long way to go and we can’t go into any game thinking that we’re there, we need to prepare for every game like it’s a Cup final and that’s what we’re going to keep doing,
“If you look at these last three games, if somebody had offered us seven points out of nine beforehand we’d have snapped their hand off.
“But because we beat both Brighton and Huddersfield we came into this game with a lot of confidence, we came here to get three points.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen – Reading are a very good side but we did create a lot of chances.
“We perhaps need to look at what we could have done to break them down but I’m pleased with the clean sheet, I thought we defended really well.
“We have had three different right-backs in the last week – Yedlin, Vurnon and Jesus tonight, who hadn’t played in a while. They have all come in and done a great job, which just goes to show how good our squad is in depth.
“We have got players itching to play and they have been really patient this season. Credit to the boys, I’m pleased with how we defended tonight.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Reading 0 Newcastle 0
Possession was Reading 70% Newcastle 30%
Total shots were Reading 8 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Reading 1 Newcastle 5
Corners were Reading 7 Newcastle 5
Referee: Andy Davies
Darlow, Gamez, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Colback (Diame 88), Shelvey, Gouffran (Atsu 69), Perez, Murphy (Gayle 75)
Elliot, Hanley, Mbemba, Anita
Crowd: 23,121 (3,704 Newcastle)
(To read the instant fan/writer reaction to this Reading match go HERE)
(To read what Jaap Stam had to say after the game go HERE)