What The Gaffer Said
Sam Allardyce wasn't impressed with the result of yesterday's match - it's fair to say that the way we conceded the goal late in the game took the wind out of us, and perhaps deflected from the reality that a point on the road was probably a fair result.
It takes a lot of getting over to concede a goal late in the game, just like we did against Southampton.
We controlled the game and dominated our local rivals, creating chance after chance but we only converted one. We just couldn’t see the game out to the end and it has ended 1-1.
The turning point in the game was Rob Elliot’s save on Patrick van Aanholt in the second half; that would have been a great time for us to kill off Newcastle, but a brilliant piece of goalkeeping kept them in it.
I think Newcastle were fortunate to get a point from the game, going off their performance and the amount of chances we created. We are disappointed in the dressing room; it almost feels like a loss.
We tried to defend too deeply instead of getting on the front-foot; we needed to keep putting them under pressure.
I thought performance wise we looked strong, we’re not a side that looks like we’re going to get beat, but we need to start turning these draws into wins. We’re four games unbeaten and we’ve still got to work hard to get a few clean sheets and stop conceding; one goal should be able to win us three points but at the minute it doesn’t.
We’ve got a difficult run ahead and we need to start turning these performances into results.
Though Sam is right on most things he's said there, he doesn't have to look much further than at himself to see why we didn't win, but I'll get onto that more in a second...
Stupid Decisions Cost Us Once Again
Why wasn't Seb Larsson on the bench?
Why are we persisting with Dame N'Doye on the left, when it clearly doesn't work?
Why can't our right back throw a ball properly?
These are all things we could have avoided, yet we didn't and as a result we didn't win the game. I get that people make mistakes, but it's happening far too much.
For me, if the plan all along was to try and defend our lead then the last person I'd be putting on the left is N'Doye, because he's a striker that is easily exposed if you go down the line and run at him. That's not his fault, it's his managers for putting him in that situation.
The players have to take some blame but basic errors are costing us points on an almost weekly basis. Make no bones about it, Newcastle are poor and we should have won that game. They deserved their point but any half-decent side would have held onto their lead, and we couldn't. It's hard to bare.
Tactically we were poor in the second half. We looked so comfortable after the first forty-five minutes yet after the break we came out and looked a different side. We sat far too deep, didn't try and kill off Newcastle and left ourselves so open out wide at times that we were asking for Newcastle to put the ball into the box for Mitrovic - it was a matter of time before he scored considering the way we were set up.
Sam needs to stop the tinkering. If something is working, why change it?
Kirchhoff Is Class
I seem to be saying this every week but it's true. Jan Kirchhoff is something else.
Give him a new contract before we lose him for next to nowt. Regardless what division we're in next season, we need to keep ahold of him. He's suddenly became our most important and influential player, as shown in the way we fall to bits when he starts to fade later in a game.
Mannone Errors Evident Again
I like Vito, and want him to do well for us, but when we are in a situation like ours you can't afford to carry an inconsistent goalkeeper. He's brilliant one week, then poor the next - sadly for us, he wasn't very good against Newcastle.
His bizarre decision to come marauding off his line almost lead to a Newcastle goal yesterday, but his blushes where spared when Yann M'Vila cleared Ayoze Perez's effort off the line. Then, for Mitrovic's goal, he somehow managed to get beaten at the near post as the ball was headed towards him. It wasn't his fault, but he could - and should - have done better.
It was a tale of two keepers for me. If it wasn't for Elliot in the opposition net I have no doubt in my mind that we would have won.
If we are to stay up we need Vito to cut out the inconsistency. He's not kept a clean sheet since coming back into the side in January - at what point do we say 'enough is enough' and give Jordan Pickford his chance? I'm going to guess it's never happening this season.