Well, I guess we've gone ahead and got the annual "lose to a third division club in the preseason" requirement out of the way in the first run out this year... so there's that. Honestly, however, this match was always going to be about blooding many, many youngsters and with that in mind, it was certainly a success. New boy Romain Amalfitano played the full 90 minutes and drew attention from Alan Pardew with his performance and Gael Bigirimana saw second half action as well. I get the whole "it's preseason, no bother" point of view, but at a certain point, you hope that your reserves and fringe first teamers can handle a third division squad. We're clearly not there yet.
We've got a mixture of links today talking about priorities, preparation and potential player moves- so let's go on ahead and get at it. Words from Alan Pardew, Alan Shearer and Demba Ba after the jump!
United took on German 3 Liga outfit Chemnitzer last night at the Gellhert Stadium in a typically old school eastern European ground, complete with crumbling terraces and intimidating cages around the pitch. On a big night for Chemnitzer, Toon players had a full taste of a European match build-up with a light morning session followed by lunch and a rest period at their base in the city centre. But looking ahead, Pardew told the Chronicle: "This German trip will be a case of really working hard on the physical side and mentally, going into the games and trying to tune up a little bit. In the past, it’s about getting players physically fit."
I have to confess that environment was not something that I had thought of when I was ticking through things we'd want out of preseason preparation for the European campaign we hope will be forthcoming this season. Of course, this is why I'm currently sitting on my sofa and not running a training camp in Germany, I suppose. If we know anything, it is that Alan Pardew's prep is at the very least thorough, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he did think of it.
Pardew said: "The priority for this club is the Premier League. I’ve said that from day one; that’s where our aspirations are. "The cups are our second priority, all the cups. The young players will get chances in those games. I know that the most important thing is that if we stand still then teams are going to pass us again. "We mustn’t stand still, so I’ve got improve the team. You can weaken a team trying to improve it, but you have to take that risk or we’re never going to break into the top four. "You can spoil the recipe that got us success last year, but we can’t stand still, we need to improve."
I almost never cringe when I read quotes from AP... but this was one of those times. It doesn't take very creative interpretive reading to say "We're writing off Europe!!!" which would certainly be a mistake that could be compounded if it was not traded off for Champions League qualification next year. Also, I'm sure it won't sit well with long-suffering Geordies who have been part of the nearly 60-year wait for domestic silverware to read that we're going to write off the League and FA Cups. I'm fully attuned to the need to ensure that league positioning does not slip... but man- we need some silver and it's not going to come from the PL.
"For me, it will all depend on what sums of money the club spend. Or whether they keep hold of some of their top players. So, at the minute, it’s too early to predict what is going to happen at Newcastle. "I certainly hope they kick on because they had a great season last time. And, of course, they might be playing 60 games in a season as well. I can’t remember if I ever did that; it was so long ago. But that is going to be an awful lot to cope with. It’s going to be tough for them to play on Thursday nights, if they get into the Europa League (group stage), and then on a Sunday. So I’m sure a pretty big squad is needed."
This quote is being run with a bit reporting that Alan Shearer says we will have to spend to succeed. This is only part of what he actually said, though. Essentially, what Alan has said here is basically what I've said before (grin)- that being that it's kind of "gut-check" time for Mike Ashley. Shearer says "..sums of money... Or whether they keep hold of some of their top players" This is the more important part of the quote for me.
"The fans see me on the pitch – that’s my message to them," Ba told the Gazette. "In the papers there’s been a lot of rubbish! "Like I said I said on Twitter, it’s just rumours. People talk, but what I can say is that none of the teams that have been talked about have approached me. "I’m still a Newcastle player, and I enjoy putting on a black and white shirt."
I don't know if Demba Ba being outspoken about his status with the club makes me feel better or not. This is patently unfair as I've said before here that I want a player to do exactly what Demba has been doing over the past week and a half or so.
With regard to the Demba Ba situation, it is hard not to stifle optimism as you sit and watch club after club that has been linked with Demba acquiring other striking targets (Liverpool, PSG, etc.). Until they all have moved on, July ends and/or Demba signs a loophole closing new contract, we'll all be sitting here waiting for that sucker punch.
NEWCASTLE UNITED are looking to offload Danny Simpson to Reading ahead of increasing efforts to land French full-back Mathieu Debuchy. The Magpies have been on the trail of Debuchy all summer but have been unable to reach an agreement with Lille over a fee.
... I include this solely on the strength that it is from one of the local papers. There are no quotes, no new information presented regarding the Simpson to Reading situation. Take it for what it's worth, but we're not talking a rumor-mongering site here with Northern Echo. Again, along with this link, I gift you a grain of salt.
Rob Elliot could only watch on as Anton Fink’s wonder strike flew past him in the first half but he did redeem himself with a superb diving save low to his right soon after, which kept Newcastle just a goal behind. Chemnitzer had played six pre-season games prior to last night’s clash and looked far from a team that spends life in the third tier in Germany. The second half was stop-and-start due to the flurry of changes by both sides but with United yet to really get into their stride perhaps the fact they couldn’t find a leveller was no big surprise.
Really Lee? Wonder strike??? Readers, I will let you decide for yourself whether this is the overstatement of the preseason thus far. For me, this is like calling Robbie Findley's goal for Forest a "wonder strike". Let us call it what it is. Rob Elliot may be a fine keeper. He has no career here... or shouldn't.