During Wednesday’s dismal performance by Newcastle United at the City Ground, one thing was clear – that players are lacking self-belief. Two players typified this with Ciaran Clark playing as left-back, looking uncomfortable throughout and struggling to make simple passes. Clark has played this position before with great assurance.
Things We Learned From Newcastle’s League Cup Exit
Weapons to Weaknesses
Newcastle wingers Kenedy and Christian Atsu have previously been weapons in the Magpies’ front line but there was a lack of threat to them both. Kenedy was the catalyst to the Toon’s revival last year but has been poor throughout this year. The more concerning thing was his lack of work ethic, which was evident on the Daryl Murphy goal when he did not track Sam Byram’s run. For Newcastle to be successful, Rafa needs to help them re-find their form.
No Lascelles Means no Leadership
Without Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle look a shadow of the side in terms of character. Lascelles has brought leadership qualities ever since he was made captain and the defence always looks more assured. He also does not allow players to get away with things and would have had an opinion on last night’s lack of application. Lascelles is not just a good defender but will always be advising his fellow players. When Newcastle conceded he would have tried to inspire his troops to fight back against his old side Nottingham Forest.
No Shelvey Means No Spark
The dearth of options in central midfield was shown last night when new signing Ki looked like a player who lacked physicality. At times he seemed to shy away from tackles and really did not create anything worthwhile. Jonjo Shelvey is not a perfect player but he always wants the ball and always tries to create. Without him, the central midfield department is very weak and not Premier League standard.