Newcastle United 0 Blackpool 2
CONFIDENCE must be cherished and protected at Newcastle United this season. It must be nurtured and comforted in the Premier League. It cannot be shattered and broken at the first sign of adversity.
Newcastle’s 2-0 home defeat by Blackpool was a shock and brought back all sorts of unpleasant sensations at St James’ Park. That sinking, sickening feeling of disappointment. That irritating, frustrating sense of a letdown.
Newcastle have felt this before. They suffered time and time again during that horrific, agonising relegation campaign as games which should have been won slipped away on a stream of wasted opportunities, down a river of lost points.
In the first game United started as favourites in the Premier League they failed miserably to match expectations, but, for all of the disappointment generated by the Seasiders perfectly executed smash-and-grab raid on Tyneside, it was not a disaster, a mortal wound or portent of impending doom.
It was a setback and setbacks can be recovered from.
There is no question Newcastle should have taken all three points at home to one of only two sides who finished below them last season.
However, they lost to the same side away last term and were still promoted, so there is no reason to stop believing they cannot go on to achieve their goal of safety in this.
After four games, Newcastle have four points and if anything, all this shows is the folly of trying to predict anything based on a football fixture list.
This is not a predictable game, but their points return so far is probably about a par score considering the games they have played.
It is far too early to be pushing panic buttons or even fearing the worst, but a result like this is enough to cause concern.
Despite all their chances and the brilliance of Blackpool goalkeeper Matthew Gilks, Newcastle looked vulnerable at times against a side which came to contain and pounce on the counter-attack.
When Newcastle lost their shape in midfield, Blackpool contained them a little too easily at times.