Half time: Den Haag 0 Newcastle 0
Full time: Den Haag 0 Newcastle 0
Alan Pardew said:
"It was a good game for us. Den Haag’s
season starts next week so they were obviously up to speed. We were the
better side and really should have won because we made numerous chances.
"It was a good work-out, but we
lacked a little of imagination today and you have to expect that in
pre-season games. That’s the one thing that is normally missing at this
time of pre-season.
"So we will use the next two weeks
to sharpen up. The grass was way too long and that stopped us from passing
the ball as we like. It also stopped us from beating people. But it was
"We do look sharp and fit, which is
all I can ask of them, although it would have been nice to score and win the
"We had four or five great set
plays and we've got to score those. There was only going to be one winner in
my opinion but just couldn't open the moment.
"We perhaps lacked a little bit of
creativity and flair, so that's something we need to work on.
"There were no injuries as well,
which is another big plus. We came off and everybody looks like they are
ready for Tuesday. We go to Hartlepool and will try to win there."
Tim Krul added:
"It was nice to be back and see some old friends. I have great
memories of being with Den Haag who helped me to get a move to England and
"I had eight years at the club, and I
will always be grateful for what they did for me. There was a lot of the
Krul family at the game. It would have been better to win and we had enough chances to score, but right now getting everyone fit
is the main thing."
When asked about the racist abuse,
Demba Ba replied that:
"I did not hear it because
I was focusing on the game. If they do that they are really stupid dudes.
They have to grow up. People have to man up: there are many people on earth
and you have to be responsible."
Coach Maurice Steijn commented:
"I am very pleased with the way we have given very little away against a
good team - that makes me especially happy, considering we had five new players
in the starting lineup.
"I felt that the boys needed to be a
little more daring and I told them at half time, but the second half was better.
Overall I was very pleased how we played against a fifth placed team from the
Although the reserves played a trio of
pre-season games in Holland this time last year, this was United's
first senior team fixture in the country since our last competitive
European outing back in March 2007 - a 0-2 defeat at AZ Alkmaar.
Steven Taylor was the only survivor from that grim night in
action today, while Steve Harper was an unused substitute for
We have faced Dutch opponents in pre-season since then - with PSV
Eindhoven twice playing on Tyneside - while our scheduled visit to
Utrecht in 2009 was cancelled amid fears of trouble with mackem fans
United extended their unbeaten pre-season run
to five games on Saturday after a thoroughly uneventful 90 minutes at the
Kyocera Stadium, during which neither 'keeper was seriously tested.
However several visiting players subsequently
reported that they had been the subject of taunts from home sections of the
crowd, causing the club to release the following statement:
"In relation to alleged racist chants
reported during Newcastle United's friendly against Den Haag today, the club
will be raising the matter with officials at Den Haag and the issue will be
dealt with privately.”
Reports subsequently claimed that
the abuse took the form of 'monkey noises' during the first half -although the incident(s) in
question during the game passed us by completely in the main stand and toon fans
behind the goal confirmed also that they were unaware of anything untoward until
news reports surfaced after full time.
Neither Alan Pardew nor Tim Krul made reference to any problems in their post-match interviews and subsequent comments from Demba Ba
(reproduced above) condemning the abuse
made it clear that he himself hadn't heard anything and was only answering
We mention this not in any attempt to downplay the abuse or deny that it took
place, but to try and counter-balance some hysterical news reports written by
people who weren't at that game. This wasn't a return to any 'bad old days' or a
large-scale, high profile incident.
(The events at Den Haag were actually overshadowed by Blackburn's scheduled
Dutch double friendly the same weekend, with crowd trouble during and after
Friday's game against Go Ahead Eagles causing the Sunday fixture at NEC Nijmegen
to be called off on police advice).
Back to the game, and lacking French duo Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben
Arfa, an otherwise full strength lineup took 24 minutes to register a meaningful
shot, when Gabriel Obertan latched on to a Ryan Taylor corner but directed a
volleyed effort from 18 yards straight at Gino Coutinho.
His opposite number Tim Krul wasn't tested at
all in the first half of what was his homecoming game meanwhile - Mike van Duinen prodding his shot well wide
when given sight of goal on the half hour.
Continuing with the same XI for the second
half, United came close to breaking the deadlock when another Ryan Taylor
corner was met by Papiss Cisse - only for his header to be blocked on the line
by Stanley Elbers.
The inevitable raft of substitutions saw Shola
Ameobi appear to form a front trio with Ba and Cisse and with 11 minutes
remaining, Newcastle's number 23 won a free kick down the right flank that was
swung over by Gutierrez.
That dropped nicely for an unmarked Mike
Williamson to head the ball across the six yard box, to where Shola stabbed it
home at the back post - only for the linesman's flag to go up and rightly rule
out the effort for offside.
Krul belatedly soiled his gloves with a routine
stop on 87 minutes from Charlton Vicento, before the referee blew for full time
to put an end to a game that will doubtless be billed as a 'good workout' but
was instantly forgettable for those present.
With two weeks and two kickabouts still remaining before the real stuff begins,
we'll resist the temptation to read anything much into this game. However, it's
fair to say that we remain convinced of the necessity to strengthen our squad
with proven quality if we're to achieve the twin aims of competing
wholeheartedly in every competition we enter and improving on last season.
By the time we return from Cardiff things may be slightly clearer (at least in
terms of Yohan and Hatem) but the closing of the transfer window four games into
our season may well mean that we get both domestic and European campaigns
underway as something of a work in progress.