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A bad day at the office - 06/01/2003

I watched yesterday’s match live and I’m probably with the vast majority who thought it was a very poor performance. We were second to the ball too many times, a fact that seems to occur only at away fixtures. We had a team meeting today and the gaffer let us knew what he thought. We then watched the match video – and seeing it the second time around didn’t make it any better!

Were there any positives? No, other than the fact we didn’t pick up any injuries! I don’t believe in the this 'we can now concentrate on the league’ talk, if you’re still in the cup then you’re winning games and winning games is a great habit to have. The only hope is that teams around us become tired and perhaps pick up the odd injury, other than that, there’s nothing positive to take out of the game. We knew that Wolves had problems up front and whether this led to complacency, I really don't know. In actual fact, I thought that George Ndah was tremendous. Having said that, we shouldn’t be conceding goals like that. The debate about our defence will continue – not that it’s doing any of us much good. It’s getting to the point where you feel that as a Newcastle United defender you're constantly under a cloud. If the gaffer wants to move players on, it might even have a negative effect the transfer value. Strange to think that we kept a clean sheet against Liverpool and OB, a defender, was awarded Man of the Match!? Again, we need to look at the big picture.

The Gaffer’s obviously looking for an improved performance against West Ham. It’ll be interesting to see how the game pans out. West Ham’s record of not winning at home in the Premiership is just one of those things that at some point will have to change. The lads are just praying it’s not going to be against us. If they sign Lee Bowyer then it’ll give them a massive boost. He’s a great player and will provide a shot in the arm for them. It’s up to us to make sure West Ham’s run continues, and that requires determination and a bit of confidence. Another performance like yesterday’s and we’ll be in big trouble.

Whether new players come in or not, don’t expect an overnight fix. We’ve been linked with Alpay and another young lad from Forest, but even if a player such as Alpay joins us, it'll take time for any player to settle. Maybe the Gaffer will only play one winger away from home, I don’t know. But you defend as a team, and until we do so, goals will continue to be leaked.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, we’re well placed in the Premiership and we’ve the opportunity to make sure the season is remembered for the good games we’ve played - rather than the bad. Champions League football is the target, and the lads are determined to make sure this season's involvemnt is not a one-off!

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