Southampton (a) Premier League
their attacking move with goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who threw the ball out to
Steve Davis just inside his own half. With no visiting player in his vicinity,
Davis turned and floated a ball down the line towards Rickie Lambert - who had
easily pulled away from the idling Massadio Haidara into acres of
"The performance was lack-lustre from us. The (difference in) energy levels between the teams was marked. If you don’t threaten the opposition, they’re going to keep coming. That’s what Southampton did. It was a great game for them.
"They played very well and made it really difficult for us but that’s a performance that we need to make sure never happens ever again – certainly not for the next six games.
"I can’t explain (the lack of energy) compared to theirs....we
didn't really have a player than excelled above a Southampton player in
almost every area they won today. I have made it clear to the players that
we expect to see a reaction against Man United.
"I don’t think that’s a major issue (his touchline ban)
because we have John Carver on the sidelines but it was our lack of energy
– wherever you were sitting in the stadium – that looked the problem.
"The criticisms that we’ll get this week, we’ll have to accept and make sure this week – not starting against Manchester United, starting on Monday – that we train very well and put a performance in that is relevant to this club.
"When we turn to the fans, what can we say? They left at half past five this morning and they’ve come to watch a performance that isn’t ‘us’.
“"I can’t think of too many occasions of a performance where we haven’t threatened the opposition because, even in some of our defeats this season, we’ve certainly threatened.
"I’m not really going to talk about individual players - I think, collectively, we have to accept responsibility. It wasn’t good enough - we lost the battle almost everywhere on the pitch.
"It was a really tough day and we didn't get any breaks in the
game. All four goals are almost identical in terms of holding a line that
"When you come here and you give the space to the quality that Southampton have got, you're going to be in trouble. We were in trouble from the kick-off to the end."
"We're still improving and the result today is a very important result for our development as a team and I'm just very happy overall with the performance of the players today.
"It's clear that for the three England players that we have here at Southampton, it's very good to maintain those high standards that they're showing throughout the season. That is only going to increase their chances of actually going to Brazil so it's very good for them. It's good for us as well."
The United players were clearly delighted by
England trio Jay Rodriguez, Ricky Lambert and Adam Lallana enjoyed the
freedom of St. Mary's on Saturday afternoon, as United somehow escaped a
landslide defeat despite a pathetic showing.
Having taken a 2-0 lead at Spurs the previous weekend before losing momentum and ending up on the wrong end of a 2-3 loss, Maurico Pocchetino's side began to snooze in the sunshine and United enjoyed some possession. However that failed to see the creation of a single scoring chance and once Southampton rediscovered their rhythm, their third goal following almost immediately.
Lallana slammed in the goal of the game after taking a pass from Jack Cork and setting off towards the United goal, pulling the trigger from outside of the box as our defence back-pedalled and leaving Elliot grasping air. With virtually no support or service, Papiss Cisse finally registered Newcastle's first shot on target after 72 minutes only to be denied by the legs of Artur Boruc.
Elliot then pulled off a double save three minutes later to foil James Ward-Prowse either side of Lallana hitting the post, as more home goals looked inevitable. Perhaps the lowest point of a shambolic day came with four minutes of normal time remaining as United came forward with something approaching competence and Dummett delivered a fine centre from the left.
Right in front of the away support, the ball arrived at an unmarked De Jong towards the far post just six yards out. A header, a shot, a chest or even a thrust of his gonads at it would surely have got him a first Newcastle goal. Instead though he allowed the ball to brush harmlessly against him before Yoan Gouffran vainly attempted to steer it home. The attacking instinct of a cuddly toy.
Take your pick on who he reminds you of: thoroughbred carthorses such as Guivarc'h, Andersson, Pingel, Kuqi or McDonald. Bring back Leon Best; he's more fit for purpose than this complete and utter bloody duck egg.
The final nail in the coffin came on 89 minutes, when yet more woeful defending allowed Rodriguez to turn and fire across Elliot to equal our worst defeat this season.
Having tried to urge the team on during the game, many of those still in the away end after full time deservedly booed and abused the players, who cut short their attempt to applaud the crowd and sloped off. Elliot did receive a better reception for at least keeping the score down (even if his distribution is pathetic) as he tossed his gloves into the crowd.
While our criticism is across the board though, it has to be recorded that a large part of the problem here came firstly by the lack of viable alternatives to our "first XI" - and the miserable excuse for performances served up by senior players like messrs Tiote, Coloccini and Sissoko. Quite what planet Gouffran now inhabits is also unclear.
Overdue ticket price reductions may have slightly eased the burden, but the cost of travel and the time taken to attend games like this simply cannot be justified when the reward is as miserable and gutless as today. The remaining games this season at Stoke, Arsenal and Liverpool stretch out before us like a prison sentence.
If Old Trafford and White Hart Lane were high spots this season, then this was an all-too predictable low point. When ripped to bits on this ground last season, we trotted out the midweek Europa League refrain - now it seems we're no longer capable of even playing midweek Premier League matches and functioning afterwards.
It can be argued that Everton had a motivation to win in midweek that we lacked, as they attempted to attack a European spot. The same cannot be said of Southampton though, who began the day trailing us by two points and have as little to play for as Newcastle.
They appear to have sort of ambition, structure and spirit though, in contrast to the con men masquerading as footballers who receive support they do not deserve.
Final word to one of the four lads in the away end who had cycled here from Tyneside and raised a few grand for cancer charities in doing so. His verdict on the game?
"all we wanted was 90 minutes effort".
Every outfield Newcastle player here today should be fined for this effort-free abomination of a performance and the proceeds given to those charities - having the brass neck to draw a wage for this is simply shameful.