Roy Keane’s six words will trouble Newcastle but ruthless transfers might be on the cards

The Etihad. The Amex. The Vitality Stadium. Goodison Park. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Kenilworth Road. Anfield. The Emirates. Stamford Bridge. Selhurst Park. You can now add Old Trafford to the list.

These are not the host stadiums for Euro 2028. They are the 11 arenas where Newcastle United have tasted defeat in the Premier League this season. This latest 3-2 loss against Manchester United was every bit as painful as the 4-1 hammering at Arsenal or the 3-0 thumping at Everton.

Why? Well, the overriding emotion for players and staff in the away dressing room on Wednesday night was one of frustration. Not just at VAR, after Newcastle were denied a first-half penalty, but at themselves.

READ MORE: Manchester United taunt Newcastle as shocking photograph highlights VAR farce – 5 things

READ MORE: Manchester United vs Newcastle United highlights

It was a missed opportunity. A chance for Newcastle to tighten their grip on a Europa League place and to send out a statement of sorts against the worst Manchester United side in Premier League history in their own backyard. However, a combination of wasteful finishing and soft defending put paid to that.

Although the FA Cup final could still throw an unlikely spanner in the works, seventh-placed Newcastle’s hopes of playing in Europe look set to come down to getting a result at Brentford on the final day. That is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

After all, only Brentford, Luton Town and Sheffield United have lost more top-flight games away from home than Newcastle (11) and it is rather damning that West Ham and relegated Sheffield United and Luton Town are the only teams to have conceded more than Howe’s team (38). Roy Keane, without even pointing to those numbers, suggested that Newcastle are ‘not as tough as they think’.

What a contrast to a year ago. It was with slightly different personnel, in a different moment, but Newcastle had the third best away record in the league last season after losing just three games. The gritty Magpies claimed 32 points on the road and repeatedly found a way to grind out results. Only Manchester City and Arsenal conceded fewer goals away from home in 2022-23.

This injury-hit season, however, has been different as Anthony Gordon knows only too well. “We’ve conceded too many sloppy goals this year so we have to fix that,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a mentality thing.”

Eddie Howe and Jason TIndall of Newcastle

It is worth noting that Nick Pope, Fabian Schar and Joelinton only made the bench on Wednesday night following their recent lay-offs while Sven Botman, Joe Willock and Sandro Tonali were among those absent. However, you can see why Howe will look at the make-up of the team moving forward and the mentality of the group to boot. Just as Newcastle will target quality footballers this summer, the Magpies also want characters with a winner’s mindset – regardless of whether they play home or away.

“The way we defended the three goals wasn’t good enough,” Howe said. “This season compared to last, that’s probably been the biggest difference. We’ve conceded goals similar to the type we did today, which is uncharacteristic for us. It’s something we have to change longer-term going into next year.”

To think it was Newcastle who looked up for it, following an aggressive start, but the black-and-whites wasted a series of promising early openings and allowed Manchester United to settle. Amad Diallo fired an early warning shot after a quarter of an hour, which Martin Dubravka pushed away, and the Newcastle goalkeeper had to be alert to rush out and to deny Alejandro Garnacho in the 29th minute.

It was a case of third time lucky just a few minutes later for the hosts. Amad was allowed to carry the ball unopposed and the forward cut inside Elliot Anderson far too easily to the edge of the area before threading a ball through. Bruno Fernandes flicked it on into the path of Kobbie Mainoo, who was in acres of space inside the box after being played onside by Kieran Trippier, and statuesque Newcastle were far too slow to react. Mainoo had all the time he needed to take a touch and sweep the ball into the net.

Newcastle were going to have to come from behind for the fourth time in five games and Mainoo’s opener seemed to awaken the sluggish visitors. There were 35 minutes on the clock when Anthony Gordon pounced after Sofyan Amrabat casually juggled the ball outside his own area and the rapid forward raced through. Amrabat caught Gordon on his heel, sending the England international tumbling inside the area, before Casemiro got across to make a last-ditch sliding challenge. Referee Robert Jones waved away the penalty appeals and VAR, inexplicably, did not feel the need to intervene.

Newcastle could have let those frustrations boil over, but the Magpies continued to push for an equaliser and Dan Burn saw a header cleared off the line by Casemiro before half-time. Newcastle finally drew level after the break.

Anthony Gordon celebrates scoring for Newcastle United vs Manchester United
Anthony Gordon celebrates scoring for Newcastle United vs Manchester United

There were 48 minutes on the clock when Amrabat failed to deal with Dan Burn’s simple header forward and Isak pounced. Isak slipped the ball down the right channel for Jacob Murphy to run onto and the forward’s teasing cross was volleyed in by Gordon.

Newcastle looked primed to go on and win the game, particularly when Murphy seized upon Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s heavy touch just a few minutes later to send Gordon racing through in a 3 v 1. Gordon unselfishly squared the ball to Isak, but Amrabat managed to get across to make a last-ditch sliding tackle that diverted the Sweden star’s shot onto the crossbar.

It proved a huge moment in the game. Having had the chance to take the lead, Newcastle were soon behind again and the black-and-whites were punished for some sloppy defending once more.

An awful corner kick from Bruno Fernandes failed to even beat the first man, but Murphy could only head the ball as far as the unmarked Amad. The former Sunderland loan star did not need a second invitation and his first-time volley flew through a sea of Newcastle shirts and past Dubravka.

Newcastle were going to have to rally again and Howe threw on Fabian Schar, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Harvey Barnes. The substitutes had their chances; Joelinton saw a header pushed over the bar by Andre Onana while Almiron came agonisingly close to connecting with Gordon’s ball towards the near post.

However, as the minutes ticked by, it was a Manchester United substitute, Rasmus Hojlund, who scored the crucial fourth goal in this game late on. Bruno Fernandes had the second he needed to pick out Hojlund in space outside the box and the striker wriggled away from Burn and drilled the ball through Hall’s legs and past a feeble Dubravka to make it 3-1.

There was still time for Hall to pull one back with a sweetly-struck effort in stoppage time, but unlike the last time the defender netted at Old Trafford, there was no cause for celebration. It proved a mere consolation as the race for Europe goes down to the wire.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/roy-keanes-six-words-trouble-29178325

Scroll to Top