Newcastle Club Focus – No capital gains for Magpies

For the second time in a matter of weeks Newcastle travelled the long road home from London with red faces. On Saturday they were completely outclassed by a rampant Tottenham side who scored five goals without reply – just weeks earlier they had gone down 5-2 to Fulham at Craven Cottage, and for whatever reason playing in the capital is proving a real problem at the moment with the club’s goal difference taking a significant hit. Newcastle can at least take solace that the clubs around them are struggling to put any run of form together and fourth place and with it, Champions League qualification, is not completely out of the question.

At the moment it appears that Harry Redknapp can do no wrong with the experienced manager probably enjoying one of the best weeks of his life. With that in mind it was always going to be a dangerous time to play a Tottenham side wanting to shown their manager what he could soon be missing. While Spurs were at times irresistible Newcastle were lacking in all departments of the pitch. Defensively they were all at sea with gaping holes appearing at regular intervals, while in midfield they could not get close to their fluid Tottenham counterparts.

After the game Alan Pardew took the blame for the heavy defeat by admitting that he got his tactics wrong. The manager selected a typically adventurous 4-4-2 formation with two attacking wingers and two out-and-out strikers. As a result the home side were able to make the pitch appear massive and exploit the channels by getting their full-backs to bomb forward.

To be fair to the manager it was always to be hard to drop one of his Senegalese forwards and there was a paucity of options to choose from in midfield. There was only so long Pardew could get away with playing James Perch in midfield although given his lack of options he had little choice. The very much out-of-favour Dan Gosling made a rare appearance from the bench but he missed an easy opportunity to at least ease some of the embarrassment. The Magpies can at least take some consolation that Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote will be back when they return to action in two weeks time.

Off-the-pitch Pardew is looking to revamp the club’s youth set-up to keep the club heading in the right direction. This week a number of the club’s reserve players, including Tamas Kadar, Ryan Donaldson and Phil Airey, were told that they no longer have a future on Tyneside. The future does appear bright with some talented youngsters on the verge of the first team and the youth team progressing into the FA Youth Cup quarter finals. Foreign imports Harris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid have impressed in their cameos while home grown defender James Tavernier has made a favourable impression while on loan at a number of clubs. Pardew said: “I’ve made that very clear, that we need to get young players here who perhaps have got more chance of getting into the first-team. Not easy, but it’s something we’re going to focus on.

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