GABRIEL Obertan says the blame for Newcastle’s defensive horror show should be shouldered by the entire team, not just the back four.
And he says it is up to all of them to remedy the problems when Everton visit St James’ Park on Wednesday.
Obertan delivered one of his best Premier League performances in black and white but his attacking contribution was overshadowed as Arsenal’s late onslaught visited fresh festive misery on ailing Newcastle.
They conceded seven goals and made a catalogue of bad errors to allow the Gunners a victory that they had worked incredibly hard to prevent for long periods.
Obertan accepts the criticism, but says that anyone zoning in on the back four is missing the point. They all need to be more resolute when David Moyes’ Everton – hardly renowned as Premier League pushovers – visit.
“The whole team has to improve defensively, and it is about the whole spirit and attitude. It is not just the defenders who have to tackle and be rough. We’re going to work on that this week I think and we have to improve that side of our play on Wednesday,” he admitted.
“There is a lot of positive stuff, but at the end of the day people just remember who lost and who won. In the group, we know what we are doing right and we know what we have to work on. We did great scoring goals, but we have to progress and improve on the defensive side of things.”
United’s problem is that they are still attacking reasonably well, and Obertan admits that it is proving difficult to get the blend right – especially with limited resources to pick from.
He said: “Because we are playing quite good football, it’s quite hard to say, ‘Right guys, let’s just defend’. It will be hard to start games with the mentality of trying not to lose. We start trying to win games, and I think that is what the Premier League is about anyway.
“We have a good group and there is still a lot of quality. It’s just that defensive side that is letting us down, and maybe a bit of luck as well. In every game, you need a bit of luck. But we know it is hard work that will get us out of that zone.”
Obertan admits that the club are in a perilous position and just need points on the board.
“It’s going to be difficult against Everton, but in our position, every game is going to be difficult at the moment,” he said.
“We have to try to focus on each game as it comes. We cannot afford to be looking into the future. We have to think about getting out of the position we are in and getting ourselves back into that top part of the league.”