DAVIDE Santon has warned Newcastle United they must cut out the lapses in concentration if they are to take much-needed points from Arsenal tomorrow.
The Magpies travel to Ashburton Grove with plaudits but no points from a thrilling Boxing Day game with Manchester United. The visitors had the better of it, scoring three times and hitting the woodwork twice. But manager Alan Pardew was unhappy with sloppiness of the four goals his side conceded, and left-back Santon was in no mood to disagree.
“The concentration made the difference,” the Italian reflected. “At 3-2 the attitude was, ‘Come on, let’s win the game.’ We were more relaxed. But you always have to be 100% concentrated from the start of the game until it finishes.
“At times I thought our concentration was bad, especially for the last goal. We need to show more confidence in defence and if that had been the case, maybe it would have been a draw.
“Man United scored because we weren’t really concentrating at the back. It was a really confident performance, but once they made it 3-3 those of us on the pitch were thinking ‘We have to defend, we have to defend’.
“We had a defensively mentality, but they scored to make it 4-3 and win the game.
“But we scored three goals. If we play like that against Arsenal we can have a good game.”
Newcastle will also have to cope with yet another suspension. Mike Williamson picked up his fifth booking of the domestic season in the penultimate match in which receiving one could accrue a ban.
So Cheick Tioté’s return from suspension will be cancelled out by another for one of only two fit specialist central defenders at St James’ Park.
“It’s been a problem this season,” Santon (pictured right) conceded. “We’ve had a lot of players injured and we’ve had to change the team all the time. We haven’t had the same team every week.
“It will make it more difficult because every time you change the defence you don’t know the movement (of the other players), you have to change that, it affects things when you pass the ball, everything. Now we have to change again.
“But we need the points, so changed team or not we have to go and win the game because we really need points.”