Where do we go from here?

Saturday was the worst I have felt in a long time watching NUFC. Far worse than the derby. At least in that game we created chances but were hit by two fabulous strikes that the goalkeeper had no chance of getting.

Against Liverpool we were truly awful.

Far worse than the second half Reading capitulation at home. After 15 minutes I asked my mate what formation did he think we were playing? “4, f**k knows,1” was his answer. It seemed the players didn’t have a clue either. We veered from 4 at the back to 5 at the back to Cabaye playing behind Cisse to him playing behind the midfield holding players Tiote and Perch. Defensively we were an absolute shambles. Four lads pulled out of the stands would surely have communicated better than our back four. Why was Gouffran dropped for the under performing Jonas? What the holy hell has happened to Tiote?

The finger has been well and truly pointed at the manager and the coaching staff. They have a squad full of talented International footballers who look like they have never met, never mind trained and played together.

What has gone wrong?

The Internet has been rife over the past couple of weeks with rumours of dressing room unrest, players whinging, cliques and Pardew being a dead man walking. Whatever the truth is, it is extremely worrying.

We have hit an abysmal run of form at precisely the wrong time and our rivals in this relegation battle, at least some of them, have picked up points and seem capable of scoring goals.

Villa’s 6-1 tonking of Sunderland last night has taken them above us in the league on goal difference. Even that minor crumb of comfort has evaporated. Like the majority of supporters I am looking at the run ins of the teams around us.

Wigan, five points below us have two away games at West Brom and Arsenal and home games against Swansea and Villa. Because of their annual relegation battles, I feel they are capable of getting two wins out of those four games. This may finally be the year their luck runs out, especially with an FA Cup final appearance on the horizon, but they worry me.

Villa’s win last night was huge and while they are still in as much jeopardy as us, I can see them winning one other game before the end of the season. Probably Norwich away on Saturday.

Sunderland have two home games with Stoke and Southampton and while last night will be a huge dent to their new-found confidence, I expect them to win at least one of them.

Our future, fortunately is still in our own hands.

Surely we are capable of a win at QPR where the fallout is continuing after their relegation? That game to me is our one big chance.

Before that the coaching staff must come up with a plan for West Ham’s aerial bombardment this Saturday. An in form Carroll must be well marked and one of our centre halves has to be up for that physical battle. Colo will return. Steven Taylor seems the most likely to be directly up against Carroll or maybe the much maligned Williamson will be brought in for his height against West Ham’s number 8?

We simply have to defend better than we have been.

Gary Neville on Sky last night absolutely ripped our defending from Saturday to shreds. Rightly so. But as I stated earlier the players he had a go at aren’t bad players. In my opinion they are just being coached badly. Basic errors in positioning should be eradicated by drilling the players on the training field (or SJP away from prying eyes now it seems).

Neville also raised the question as to whether we have too many French players who aren’t in tune with the fans and don’t understand how to cope with the rigours and demands of the Premier League.

I understand his sentiments. Maybe we have gone too far and have lost the core element of a squad who had the nous to deal with the dog fights that some games are?

I would rather think that the players do understand and are hurt by the recent embarrassments. They are professionals. They live in the city. They leave the pitch to the cheers and sometimes the boos.

The buck has to stop with the manager. I tweeted after Saturday’s game that if you lose a game in that manner, you lose the backing of the fans and ultimately you will lose your job.  Today’s local papers are stating that he will be backed until the end of the season and then his position will be reviewed.

That is understandable. No new coach would accept the job of coming in for three games with the remit of winning one. Certainly not any coach looking for the job to be given to him full time.

If Pardew was sacked now, then the same people would be coaching the players as are doing it now. Questions have to be asked of them in the summer too. Is Carver purely a buffer? Does he actually work on anything with the players? What does Steve Stone do? Certainly not work on crossing if our corners are anything to go by? Is it not sensical to bring a French coach in to get the best out of them. We hire interpreters why not coaches?

Personally I think Pardew will be replaced and we will begin a new era. Hopefully with Ashley releasing more funds to replace the departing players with better players.

One interesting point raised in The Journal today was Cabaye is also under scrutiny from the board. His performances have been way below par and it has been revealed he is one of the players questioning the manager and tactics. Who could blame him to be fair?

Maybe the power struggle in the summer will be between who goes? The Manager or the French midfielder?

Good luck to all who are going to West Ham. No doubt the manager will have called for your support before Saturday. That support is never in doubt and should never be questioned.

Howay the Lads.

Teg

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