JOHN Carver has challenged his beleaguered Newcastle United players to play “on the front foot” – just like the revered Entertainers side.
Carver hit out at his team after their 1-0 derby defeat at Sunderland on Sunday for their negativity in possession.
I’ve been involved in teams that express themselvesJohn Carver
And he says the way United played at the Stadium of Light left him baffled, after they were encouraged to play with the shackles off.
Carver (below) – who was at the club during the famous Entertainers era of the 1990s and was also No2 under Sir Bobby Robson – was left “hurt” by Newcastle’s first half performance, as Sunderland were allowed to get on top before scoring the winner on the stroke of half-time.
He said: “You can only say so many things to them (before a game).
“I see good things all week at the training ground, and good movement, and people being brave on the ball, and being progressive up the pitch.
“I didn’t see that in the first half (on Sunday). That’s the bit that hurts me, because I don’t put shackles on these players. I want them to express themselves.
“I’ve been involved in teams that express themselves. I was around with the Entertainers side, I was around with Sir Bobby’s team, and they were two sides that actually played on the front foot.
“I don’t want to see us getting into the final third and then ending up with the goal back at our goalkeeper.
“I want us to be progressive, and I’ve never stopped them from being progressive, but (on Sunday) we weren’t.”
With a number of players unavailable on Sunday, Newcastle lined up with a back four of Mike Williamson, Daryl Janmaat, Ryan Taylor and Jack Colback.
Carver has praised the efforts of the quartet at the Stadium of Light, but questioned the desire and attitude of some of the club’s more forward-thinking players.
He added: “What I will say is I thought the back four – which was a makeshift back four – had a right go. Now that’s all I’m asking for.
“That should be a given, playing for this football club.
“That’s what the people in the stands expect, and our back four have to take a little bit of credit for that.
“But the other units – the midfield unit and the frontmen – there was no movement, no running off the ball, no working back in, and I can’t understand that.
“In the second half, we rolled our sleeves up and had a go, but lacked quality.”