5 reasons not to panic after defeat to Burnley
Monday night’s Newcastle United defeat at Turf Moor triggered the sort of meltdown on Twitter and other social media sites that we have become used to after a Newcastle defeat.
However, despite the limp performance against Burnley, there is no need to panic and here’s why.
1 Newcastle have responded well to setbacks this season
The Toon have come back well after away defeats so far this season.
Gone are the days when one bad performance would lead to a run of defeats and players downing tools, as they did under Alan Pardew and Steve McClaren. There are too many leaders in this squad to stand for that, as we have already seen.
The performance against Huddersfield in the first away game was very similar to the one at Burnley last night, with the team struggling to create chances and seemingly lacking creativity. However, that was followed by the impressive 3-0 win at home to West Ham and a run of three successive league victories. Even the defeat at Brighton in September was followed by the spirited display in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at St James Park.
This Toon squad seems to have more spirit than previous teams and certainly will not let their heads go down after Monday night’s poor showing.
2 There are some very winnable games ahead
With the exception of Man United away on the 18th November, the next few games look very winnable for Newcastle United. Saturday’s home game against struggling Bournemouth is the perfect opportunity to bounce back from defeat and should be three points for Benitez’ men.
After the trip to Old Trafford, a home game against Watford and a trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom, should hold no fears for Newcastle. A minimum of four points should be expected from those games.
Even the Manchester United game itself does not seem as intimidating as it might have a few weeks ago when they were scoring for fun. Now Jose Mourinho is fighting with the club’s fans, Lukaku’s goals seem to have dried up and Newcastle can go there believing that a well organised display could earn them at least a point.
3 St James Park is showing signs of becoming a fortress again
Ever since the defeat to Tottenham on the opening day of the season, Newcastle’s home form has been very strong. three wins and a draw from the four games since then, show encouraging signs that this side are really starting to feel at home at St James Park.
So often in the past players seem to have wilted in front of 52,000 expectant fans and become shadows of what they are capable of. Even in last season’s promotion run, home form was shaky at times with five defeats and three draws coming at St James Park. Now players seem to relish turning out in front of the Geordie faithful and this bodes well for the season ahead.
4 Mikel Merino’s return
Make no mistake; Mikel Merino was missed Monday night. Without him, Newcastle badly lacked a creative spark in midfield. As we found out, Mo Diame simply cannot play in that position. He lacked pace and struggled to distribute the ball effectively and create chances.
Merino has the ability to create something out of nothing and has exceeded expectations since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. He has also clearly impressed Rafa Benitez who agreed to make his loan deal permanent earlier this month. While Merino’s back injury may cause him to miss the Bournemouth game on Saturday, he should be back for the challenges that lie ahead. All that remains now is for Benitez to figure out a way to play him and Jonjo Shelvey in the same side.
5 Rafa Benitez
Put simply, the Newcastle manager will not allow standards to slip after a defeat the way his predecessors did. Benitez is a perfectionist who expects the highest standards of discipline and organisation from his players. Any who cannot meet these standards will quickly find themselves out of the side, as Aleksandar Mitrovic and Jonjo Shelvey have found to their cost at different times this season.
Benitez’ attention to detail is second to none and he will be going over Monday’s defeat with a fine toothcomb to ensure that the faults that were on display at Turf Moor are remedied on the training pitch before the visit of Bournemouth on Saturday. Expect to see a markedly improved performance in front of the St James Park crowd this weekend.
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