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Graeme Jones rallies the Newcastle United squad with fighting talk as situation worsens

1 month ago
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Graeme Jones has found himself thrust into the spotlight.

Only at St James Park for nine months and he found himself stepping up into the manager’s shoes, on a temporary basis anyway.

Graeme Jones said that the owners had told him to take charge of the Palace away game and Chelsea at home, following the belated sacking of Steve Bruce.

It remains to be seen if he is still interim manager on Saturday at Brighton but the 51 year old Geordie is under no illusions as to what has to happen, declaring Newcastle United desperately ‘needs a fresh face’ as manager.

As to the challenge that new NUFC boss will face, Graeme Jones has no doubts: ‘We are in a relegation battle. There is no question about that. We need to face it like men. Stick together and believe we will come through it.’

If a new manager is appointed early this week, he would have almost three weeks with only one game (Brighton Away) to get the team / squad ready for what looks set to be an absolute key run of matches.

Yes Newcastle United certainly need to ‘stick together’ and ‘face it like men’ as an absolute basic starting point BUT as well as that, it is also absolutely essential that the new manager gets this same group of players confident and wanting to play football again, as after Brighton, Newcastle then face four games with three of them absolute must win home matches, or at the very least seven points out of nine at St James Park, if there is to be any chance whatsoever of reaching 2022 outside the relegation zone. Those home matches are against Brentford, Norwich and Burnley, with Arsenal away in amongst them. Beyond that, NUFC face Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Everton before we see in the new year, so as you can see, early momentum with the new manager from winnable games…absolutely needed.

One thing I did disagree with from Graeme Jones, when he said about Saturday: ‘I think the fans were incredible today. It is not a style of football the fans are accustomed to.’

Well the fans were incredible in terms of not getting on the backs of interim manager and players but in truth there was very little actual support from the terraces because…there was very little to support. Unless you count blocks, tackles and Chelsea players missing the target for the opening 64 minutes.

Yes, it was desperately negative as Graeme Jones alludes to…but it wasn’t much better for the overwhelming majority of Steve Bruce’s 27 months at St James Park.

Yes a lot of it wasn’t very exciting under Rafa Benitez either…but when you are relying on the likes of Atsu and Joselu as part of your attack, there are valid reasons for playing it tight a lot of the time. The difference (as opposed to Bruce) was, Rafa had a plan and very very rarely were Newcastle not still in any game in the closing stages. Plus, when able to, Rafa did allow his team to spread their wings a bit, the final 28 PL games under him (once Rondon was fully fit) saw Newcastle with the eighth  best form in the Premier League. Whilst once Almiron added pace and drive to the Rondon / Perez attack, Rafa ended the season with the fifth best form in his final 16 games, as well as fifth highest number of goals in those 16 matches.

This group of players are capable of playing better football AND getting better results. We were doomed for sure if Steve Bruce had stayed and Graeme Jones is also happy to admit that he isn’t the man for the job, so hopefully that new appointment will be imminent and can get things on an upward curve by the time Newcastle face Brentford at SJP in 20 days time. Anything from Brighton would be a real bonus.

Graeme Jones reflecting after the Chelsea match…:

“We are in a relegation battle.

“There is no question about that.

“We need to face it like men.

“Stick together and believe we will come through it.

“For 65 minutes we were competitive…that was the game plan.

“We had a little bit of momentum in their half when the ball could have dropped our way.

“We ended up conceding when I was ready to make a couple of positive subs.

“Three [goals] in 15 minutes and the game was dead.

“It wasn’t a 3-0 game for me…the last two goals were a result of the first one…that was the disappointment for me.

“I think it needs a fresh face [as manager].

“I think the fans were incredible today.

“It is not a style of football the fans are accustomed to.

“We want to attack people, we want to score goals, but this is the stage we are at.

“We haven’t kept enough clean sheets this season and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what the need is at the minute.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3 – Saturday 30 October 3pm

Goals:

Chelsea

James 65, 77 Jorginho 81 pen

Newcastle:

Possession was Chelsea 79% Newcastle 21%

Total shots were Chelsea 19 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Chelsea 6 Newcastle 1

Corners were Chelsea 2 Newcastle 0

Referee: Paul Tierney

Crowd: 52,208 (Chelsea 3,200)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden (Almiron 67), Sean Longstaff (Shelvey 81), Fraser (Willock 66), Saint-Maximin, Wilson

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, Joelinton, Schar, Lewis, Murphy, Gayle

(Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3 : The Nightmare Before Christmas – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer tells it how it is after Chelsea win 3-0 – Newcastle United fans react to his comments – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3 – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)

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