DANNY Simpson believes Newcastle United’s airtight centre-back pairing is a match for anyone in the Premier League.
Dogged United notched their third clean sheet in four top-flight games in Monday’s otherwise disappointing draw with QPR – further illustration of the defensive progress made under manager Alan Pardew.
Unusually for a team clad in black and white it makes them the Premier League’s most difficult to beat, along with the achievement of being the only team in the football pyramid to have conceded a solitary goal so far in this embryonic campaign.
Simpson believes that deserves credit, suggesting that no other top-flight team will match their four-game sequence for the rest of the season. For that the peerless skipper Fabricio Coloccini and fearless Steven Taylor must take credit.
Both have been outstanding so far this term, with the latter in particular having roared back to form after a troublesome two years.
“The two centre-halves have been magnificent in every game this season,” Simpson said. “They seem to work off each other so well. It’s credit to them, they work just as hard in training as they do on the pitch and that work is really paying off.
“Tayls is exactly the same in training – he blocks shots left, right and centre and the ball hits him all over the place. You know all about Colo’s class, and the two of them seem to work well together.
“As a defence that’s three clean sheets out of four now and that’s some achievement really.
“There won’t be too many, if any, teams do that over the course of a Premier League season.
“It’s testament to the lads – not just the back five, but the whole of the team. We work so hard on our organisation, and at the moment I think we look hard to beat which is obviously great. That’s a massive thing to be taking into games.” Simpson believes that Pardew’s intensive defensive coaching is one reason for the steep improvement this season.
An emphasis on shape and discipline are bearing fruit, with the right-back saying he knows his responsibilities and those of his defensive colleagues “inside out”.