Phil Thompson full of praise for Newcastle United
Phil Thompson has been reflecting on Newcastle’s win at Huddersfield.
The game was a real six pointer as a home win would have put the two clubs level on points.
Instead, the away victory meant that Newcastle put a six point gap between themselves and David Wagner’s team and an eventual four point lead on the bottom three, following Southampton’s win over Arsenal.
Huddersfield recorded 74% possession which is by far the highest this season for a PL team failing to win, yet despite this Newcastle rarely looked in trouble.
Phil Thompson says that whilst Rafa Benitez might have ‘looked nervous on the touchline, will have been delighted with the way that back three defended’, as Martin Dubravka and his three centre-backs appeared well in control.
Newcastle have now played five away games against clubs in the bottom six and are undefeated, winning three and drawing two. Last season Rafa showed similar success when playing against weaker clubs, repeatedly picking up points.
Quality was at a premium at the weekend and Newcastle’s winning goal, a real team effort, took Thompson by surprise: ‘That was so out of touch with this game it was untrue and Newcastle were one up.’
A disciplined clean sheet and winner on the counter-attack will have been Rafa’s ideal game plan, it’s great when a plan comes together…
Phil Thompson talking to Sky Sports:
“I don’t think Huddersfield are going to survive now, four defeats on the run for them.
“These home games would have been the games they were identifying…hopefully three points against Newcastle.
“But there is nobody there who looks like they’re going to score, no matter what, or going to thread a ball through. A load of crosses coming in and a load of long throws and corner kicks but never on the edge of your seat thinking they were going to score a goal.
“Only thing that might have gone in their favour, dreadful tackle by Lascelles, he didn’t have to commit but goes right through Depoitre on the byline, could well have been red from Anthony Taylor the referee, rather than yellow.
“Very, very few (Huddersfield shots on target) and if they were, they went straight into the arms of Dubravka.
“The second half, whether it was by design by Newcastle or not, Huddersfield were forced wide and were made to cross the ball, there was only Depoitre in there and it was never going to get there.
“Newcastle totally dominated him. A couple of headers that went straight at the goalkeeper but the back three were absolutely fantastic for Newcastle.
“Not a great football match…Huddersfield were always in control but, with no strikers scoring goals for Huddersfield, it was always going to be difficult.
“It took until 55 minutes (for the first and only goal) through Rondon and you wouldn’t have expected this sort of goal (in the context of the match).
“Newcastle get the ball to feet and go back to the goalkeeper, comes back to Lascelles, goes to Schar, he plays it down the flank and, as Perez gets the ball, Manquillo, the right back, is already ahead of the game and a fantastic ball by Perez.
“On the blind side he just plays it inside and Manquillo is free, needs to give it early because if he delays it Rondon is offside. Manquillo plays it around the front and Rondon slides it in.
“That was so out of touch with this game it was untrue and Newcastle were one up.
“Then it was sit back…and Rafa, although he looked nervous on the touchline, will have been delighted with the way that back three defended.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]