If Newcastle didn’t win convincingly against Sheffield Wednesday, the absence of Jonjo Shelvey was always going to be a/the big talking point.
Newcastle didn’t win and were anything but convincing.
An organised and at times cynical opposition, with some ability, limited Newcastle to very few clear opportunities and only Karl Darlow prevented it being three or four goals to the visitors.
Nevertheless, Isaac Hayden says that whilst ‘there is no getting away from it that Jonjo is a good player’, he also makes the point that ‘it is a squad game and Jonjo Shelvey doesn’t win games by himself’.
That is true enough and what is also true, is that it is only a month ago when Newcastle put in an even worse performance against weaker opposition, when losing to Blackburn at St James Park, WITH Shelvey in the team.
However, the only way the players in these next four matches are going to ensure Shelvey isn’t the main/sole topic of conversation, is to go out and play much better than Monday night and most importantly, win.
Forest and Blackburn are currently 18th and 22nd in the table and neither have won a game since beating Newcastle in those two Championship defeats within a week.
Blackburn have lost four and drawn one, whilst Forest have lost three and drawn one. To have the double done by either of these teams would leave Isaac Hayden and his teammates open to a fair amount of criticism.
The players really couldn’t ask for a better match than for Nottingham Forest to be the visitors on Friday night. The flat performance against Sheffield Wednesday will surely be replaced by an energised one, especially with such a sense of injustice from only four weeks previous.
Winning teams mean very little else is talked about and winning is something Newcastle have been very good at this season, with 16 victories from 23 Championship matches, if they make it number 17 on Friday then we will be back to what has become the status quo. Counting down the wins and days before Newcastle are a Premier League club once again.
Isaac Hayden repeated Rafa Benitez’ comment about sometimes maybe the players have to accept that a draw isn’t the worst result when things aren’t going for you.
However, I don’t think Manager or players will be mentioning that in connection with this Nottingham Forest game.
“People are always going to say ‘If Jonjo was playing…’ – but at the end of the day, it is a squad game and Jonjo doesn’t win games by himself.
“There are still another 10 players out there that do the job and help the team.
“There is no getting away from it that Jonjo is a good player and he’s been very important for us this season – but there is no reason to use that as an excuse that because he isn’t playing, we shouldn’t be able to win games or dominate games – we’re not looking for that as an excuse.
“Jack Colback has come in and he hasn’t played in a while – I thought he ran his socks off and tried his best.
“At the end of the day the only thing you can do as players is try your best and everyone did that, some days it’s not meant to be.
“We are not robots and we can’t play 100% every single game Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday, that’s impossible.
“It was a sloppy goal (v Sheffield Wednesday) to concede – they got the first, second and third contact.
“Maybe we didn’t create enough chances, even though there were a few good ones first half, sometimes we maybe need to learn to draw a game rather than lose it.”