Manchester United (h) Premier League
Half time: Magpies 0 Red Devils 0
mins Wayne Rooney charged down the right
flank after a throw-in was wrongly awarded to the
Reds but substitute Yoan Gouffran intervened in the area to apparently
snuff out the
"The referee only has one look at it and at the time my gut feeling was that it was a penalty, but he hasn’t given it – he’s a human being.
"I have seen it five or six times now and it is a penalty. We all know how important the first goal is in this league, it is a different game then.”
On the goal:
"I spoke to Jonas and I asked if it was our throw and he said absolutely. I
am raging inside.
"I am aware of the incident. The guys on TV made me aware. I just saw a fracas on the halfway line. I need to look it. It's one of the worst things in football (spitting).”
"Putting Jonas on was a footballing decision not a sentimental decision. I was a bit concerned about Ryan (Taylor) because he has not played at this level for a long time and was blowing so I asked Jonas if he could play there because he has done that on a number of occasions and he said 'absolutely'.
"Maybe I should have started him because, all of a sudden, the crowd came alive but it was great.
"Jonas has worked extremely hard behind the scenes. He has worked in the gym tirelessly hard, coming back from what he has came back from and having the opportunity to get on the pitch.
"It just shows how much the fans think of him because the roof nearly came off the stadium, which was nice."
Gutierrez told reporters:
"The support I have had from clubs all around the world, they don't
matter about the shirt, it has helped me keep fighting.
"It was a crazy run from Wayne Rooney, a lost ball, that
shows the fighting spirit in this team. We want to win. All my changes were to win, not to hold the result."
"Now we are still fourth, we have dominated the game in an away match, at a difficult ground, so everybody is full of confidence to play against Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals and that’s very important.
"I have said in the dressing room that I was very pleased with the performance, especially here, a difficult ground to win and how we have dominated the game.
"I had said already at half-time that I was very pleased with the performance, but we didn’t reward ourselves and you know in football when you don’t reward yourselves, you can come away with a negative result, and it could have been because David de Gea did make two fantastic saves. But I have to say Tim Krul did also.
"We have waited a long time for the
winning goal, but it shows also again the fighting spirit of our team – that I
have said already a lot of times – but for me, it was very important that we
won today, and you see all the results of our competitors in our rat race
together, so it shall continue.
“But I lost here 3-2 with Barcelona, 3-1
with AZ Alkmaar, so I knew it was a difficult ground. Ryan Giggs also said, ‘They
will press us, a lot of pressure, and the crowd supports the team always, but we
made the crowd quiet, I believe, because we were dominating, and I was very
pleased with this performance.
A last minute goal prompted by some defensive turmoil left Newcastle with nothing to show for their efforts at St. James' Park on Wednesday - but eventsin the game may yet prove to be more significant to our ultimate fate this season than tonight's scoreline.
What initially appeared to be nothing more than a clumsy coming together in the centre circle between Papiss Cisse and Jonny Evans in the 38th minute became rather more serious when it emerged that TV cameras had captured both players spitting at each other.
Footage then emerged that the visiting defender had spat in the vicinity of Emmanuel Riviere earlier in the first half, after the Magpie was sent flying by Chris Smalling's illegal block inside the box.
Referee Anthony Taylor took no action but amid a chorus of condemnation from pundits, the FA reviewed video evidence and charged both players - Cisse at risk of an extended ban following the three match sanction imposed for his elbow on Everton's Seamus Coleman back in December.
Given that the man from Senegal has been almost a one man forward line this season, the prospect of his absence for a sizeable chunk of the remaining ten games this season is yet another body blow for our threadbare squad and their utopian ambition of defying logic and securing a top ten finish.
The spit spat marred what was an evenly poised encounter, the Red Devils ahead in possession but unable to find a way past Tim Krul until the final seconds. Newcastle's forward excursions were far rarer - but Cisse and Riviere both had two glaring opportunities to put their side ahead.
Riviere was upended by Smalling in the tenth minute and although the Frenchman was already on his way down, it looked a clear foul. Referee Taylor have been partially unsighted, but the linesman in front of the East Stand had no excuse for taking heed of the vociferous appeals.
For any conspiracy theorists, the flag waver was Peter Kirkup - who took a tumble on the opposite touchline during the Spurs home game back in August 2012, after Alan Pardew shoved him.
The visitors had already wasted an early opportunity when Mehdi Abeid gave the ball away and Angel Di Maria was left clear on goal but thankfully delayed his shot long enough for Fabricio Coloccini to force him wide.
Wayne Rooney should have done better midway through the first period when Young's heavy touch put him in the clear but as Krul rushed out to save, Shrek shot wide. Minutes later Coloccini tripped over his own feet and let in Di Maria again but he thankfully failed to pick out Rooney in the middle.
Krul beat away a header from Marouane Fellaini as half-time approached but Moussa Sissoko broke from halfway and played the perfect ball for Riviere but the forward failed to get a shot away as David De Gea smothered.
The second period got off to a lively start with Marcos Rojo firing narrowly over the bar but Riviere should have netted when Coloccini headed the ball into his path. However a weak finish from two yards out allowed De Gea to claw the ball away, the Newcastle man merely letting the ball hit him.
Krul then made a fantastic double stop in the 55th minute to deny Fellaini and Young in quick succession before a linesman's flag saw an effort from the livewire Rooney chalked off.
Riviere made way for Ayoze Perez as John Carver tried to boost his side's attacking presence. For the opposition, Riviere's former Monaco colleague Radamel Falco remained rooted to the bench.
The biggest cheer of the night came when Gutierrez replaced Ryan Taylor to a standing ovation, Jonas receiving deafening applause as he took to the field and received the captain's armband from his compatriot Coloccini. It was a wonderful moment as he returned following recovery from testicular cancer, although Jonas was swiftly booked for fouling Adnan Januzaj with his first tackle.
The chance of the night for Newcastle then arrived on 68 minutes after Perez robbed Ander Herrera in midfield before setting Cisse away, only for the striker to scuff his effort wide of the goal. Had that gone in, then perhaps tonight would have ended with another notable Gallowgate scalp to go alongside Chelsea and Liverpool - but our allocation of seasonal good fortune may be exhausted.
Krul made another fine save from Rooney's downward header but it was the Dutch 'keeper's error that presented Young with an open goal in the final minute to decide a contest that was seemingly destined for nowts apiece. Cisse then forced a fine save from De Gea after Moussa Sissoko powered upfield and swung over a cross from the right and the number nine headed powerfully towards goal.
Abeid screwed a shot well wide and that proved to be the final action as Taylor blew for full-time as Louis van Gaal's side departed occupying fourth spot with maximum points. We meanwhile remain marooned in eleventh for the seventh successive game with 35 points from 28 games.
The football may no longer rouse us from our slumbers, but an exhibition of character and bravery from Jonas prompted caused people to find their voices in tribute. Stepping back from the human element though, the fact that a boost comes from the return of a player declared surplus to requirements and farmed out to Norwich City two seasons ago neatly encapsulates our decline.
Sammy looked like he was recovering from his efforts against Villa, while Abeid seemed to suffer from stage fright and Obertan didn't look to relish the chance of facing his former employers - unless that hideous caricature on the programme cover upset him. Of Riviere we can only repeat our previous assertion that he doesn't look like a £6m player.....because he's not one.
Yes there have been injuries (four knee knacks and a collapsed lung sounds like the new Hugh Grant film) and a steady stream of players hitting form have promptly bowed out (Aarons, Abeid, Obertan, Cabella) but there comes a point when fitness issues cease to be misfortunes and become self-inflicted.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in this club could reel off examples of tempting fate in squad terms - and being found out. Our latest manifestation of magpie myopia saw Davide Santon regain fitness and then be packed off to Italy with one left back injured and a similar fate quickly befalling the other one. Paper talk now suggests a free agent signing as cover - maybe Shefki Kuqi could be shoe-horned into that berth?
Doing his level best to play there tonight was Ryan Taylor, but he was found wanting for pace on a few occasions and forced to deploy some of his "experience" to slow down opponents.
Overshadowing all of these gripes though was the shameful conduct of the man wearing the black and white number nine shirt. Cisse deserves a massive ban not only for the cowardly act of spitting at Evans rather than sticking one on him, but also for the insincere apology delivered barely three months ago after elbowing an opponent that he trotted out once again in the wake of this incident.
This was a classless act from the representative of a classless club, but don't fall into the trap of talking about role models and trotting out any "think of the children" lines. Along with leaders and heroes, they mostly exist in history books round these parts, not the home dressing room.
His second self-imposed absence of 2015 leaves us embarrassingly short up front, with the situation so desperate that rumours of Facundo Ferreyra appearing have even circulated - that should get the crowds back to SJP, albeit in a 'I can't believe they paid money for that' style. Re-signing Xisco would be preferable.
Does anyone actually care anymore though and would a 0-0 draw have produced yet more reams of unwarranted praise for our "achievement" in doing so? Despite being eight points behind last season's total at this point, even a catastrophic collapse would seem insufficient to leave us in the bottom three.
In an average league though, we're the most faceless, bland and downbeat of sides - not worth crossing the road to watch as they fade to obscurity exactly as they did 12 months ago. And that's at the behest of those in charge, opting to leave the squad and coach to muddle through.
"Local Hero" is now sadly inappropriate to welcome this bunch, "Let's Go Round Again" by the Average (Black and) White Band would seem more appropriate.