An agonising defeat by Reading gave Davide Santon a restless night and, he explains to Neil Cameron, he won’t relax until top-flight survival is secured
HAVE Newcastle United been good enough this season? Do the players genuinely care about the club?
These are two of the more pertinent questions regarding this campaign so far; one is a lot easier to tackle than the other.
Of course, a resolute ‘no’ would be the answer to that first puzzler. Nobody, be it Alan Pardew to the Toon Army’s most optimistic member, would suggest anything otherwise.
But the old chestnut regarding whether the guys getting paid handsomely to play the game care as much as those who pay to watch it, is always given an airing when results are as bad as they have been over the past three months for Newcastle United.
Davide Santon is living, breathing proof that the players not only deeply care about whether they win or lose, but that a negative outcome of a game affects them long after the final whistle has blown.
Just like the average supporter. The Italian said: “I couldn’t sleep after the Reading game on Saturday night because I was so disappointed. I was going though in my mind what had happened and that kept me awake. It was difficult to take.
“What I would say to the fans is that the players always give 100% on the pitch. Nobody goes out there to lose.” This is an important message to get over right now. Losing is one thing; not trying is unforgivable.
To be fair, there won’t be many supporters who would look at the likes of Santon and come to the conclusion that the full-back is not putting in the effort.
He might not be playing well, as he did in the first few months of this campaign – who is? – but Santon doesn’t want anyone to think even for a moment that he, or any of his team-mates, aren’t grafting.
Santon said: “This is a tough moment for all of us. We are training hard and have been doing everything that we should, but then we get to the games and we’ve lost too many. There have been four or five games recently that we couldn’t take anything from.
“We got a great result against Norwich, but we needed a win against Reading and they scored two goals in the second half.
“So we are in a difficult situation. We have a big game against Aston Villa next week and then Chelsea at home, and we need to keep going, concentrate and stay together.