Sam Allardyce identifies who is to blame for Newcastle United defeat to Spurs – The fans
Sam Allardyce has been analysing Sunday’s game at St James Park.
Very kind of him.
The one-time Newcastle United manager looking to identify where and why it went wrong for his old club.
After considering everything that happened in the 3-2 defeat to Tottenham, Sam Allardyce managing to pin the defeat on the obvious suspect.
Yes, that’s right, the Newcastle United fans.
Sam Allardyce explaining that the defeat was down to the ‘fact’ that Newcastle supporters demanded (and always do apparently…) that their team go forward and play attacking football.
Sam Allardyce in particular pointing to Newcastle’s downfall coming from laying themselves open to the counter-attack due to wildly pressing too far forward with too many players.
Just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I checked back on the match highlights. Tottenham were 3-1 up at half-time and none of the three goals were the result of being too open due to attacking and / or caught short because of pressing too high. Instead, the goals conceded were pretty much down to Newcastle standing off their opponents and letting them play too easily through them and over the top. Poor defending, poor shape, poor tactics, poor set up…in fact, dare I say it, poor management???
Newcastle United fans turned up to support their team regardless on Sunday and with zero expectation of it being a feast of attacking football. The fact that after Callum Wilson scored in the second minute, no Newcastle player had a shot on target in the entire rest of the match (Dier scored a bizarre own goal under zero pressure for NUFC’s second goal) doesn’t say much for Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team supposedly (according to Sam Allardyce) playing on the attack all game.
Yes in the second half it became a real shambles and ragged performance from Newcastle United but surely that was down to Steve Bruce, not the fans. So many players didn’t seem to know what positions they were playing or what was expected of them, never mind any kind of great strategy on how the team were supposed to function. What really torpedoes Allardyce’s argument of course, is that despite Rafa Benitez playing not great attacking football most of the time in the Premier League, the Newcastle fans were overwhelmingly behind him and accepted the reality of a lot of the time what needed to be done, especially with the players available (Stoke reserve Joselu for £5m the striker Rafa was allowed by Ashley after promotion).
Newcastle did at times become more open into the second half as they chased the game but a lot of this was down to the fact that when they did try and press, that was so ragged as well. Once again, where was the plan? If you are going to press high then it is pointless when only a few players do it, you have to do it as a team, or else you see what happened yesterday. Tottenham could have scored six or seven, both on the counter-attack when NUFC were chasing AND when sitting back, as they did much of the time.
Steve Bruce has been even more negative than Rafa Benitez ever was, in terms of the sheer number of games where more negative, rather than trying to be more expansive. This despite Bruce having the benefit of £125m spent on attacking options since January 2019 (Wilson, ASM, Almiron, Joelinton, Willock). Out of those five players, Rafa only had the benefit of nine starts from Almiron and even with that he managed to get Newcastle far more attacking once he introduced the Paraguayan’s pace, in Rafa’s final 16 PL matches he accumulated the fifth highest number of points and also NUFC were fifth highest goalscorers.
Whilst as for defending, in 76 PL games Rafa’s NUFC team conceded 95 goals, for Bruce it is (so far!) 139 conceded in 84 PL matches.
Sam Allardyce speaking to Talksport about Newcastle losing to Tottenham:
“He [Steve Bruce] was leaving himself wide open for a counter-attack and being too open when the opposition got the ball.
“I saw Newcastle try and close down from the front.
“But once they [Tottenham defenders] had got one past the [Newcastle] forwards, they [Tottenham] were into midfield and straight at the back four.
“It gave too many opportunities for Tottenham to score.
“A more resilient defence might have been something that could have been a tactic.
“But, yet again, the Newcastle fans see that as a negative and talk about it being boring football.
“You have fifty thousand excited fans in St James Park who want to see you going forward and attacking, unfortunately.
“You are left between the devil and the deep blue sea when it comes to that.”
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