Carra: Newcastle almost look ready for the season to end

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Carra: Newcastle almost look ready for the season to end

Jamie Carragher says Newcastle look like they are “almost ready for the end of the season” after an unacceptable defensive display at Chelsea.

Newcastle only lost by a one-goal margin at Stamford Bridge, but Jacob Murphy’s late strike papered over the cracks of an underwhelming performance that leaves them 10th in the Premier League table.

Goals from Nicolas Jackson, Cole Palmer and Mykhailo Mudryk at Stamford Bridge marked the 10th game this season that Eddie Howe’s side have conceded three or more times in the league.

Alexander Isak looks dejected during Chelsea's win over Newcastle

Image: Alexander Isak looks dejected during Chelsea’s win over Newcastle

Newcastle’s chances of securing Champions League qualification for a second successive season are now all but gone after struggling to cope with the rigours of their schedule.

“I adored Newcastle last season. It was their intensity, and it took me back to when Jurgen Klopp first came in at Liverpool where people were running everywhere,” said Sky Sports pundit Carragher.

“They didn’t have as many games and they’ve had injuries this season so what happens is you’re using the same players who are fit, then that sort of intensity drops also.

“It looks like a team who are almost ready for the end of the season. If I just looked at that performance and I didn’t know this team, that is not acceptable the way they defended. This is an average Chelsea team, let’s not forget that.”

Newcastle with and without Nick Pope this season

Image: Newcastle with and without Nick Pope this season

Newcastle have been without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope since December, but Carragher says their demise points to a wider issue defensively.

He added: “Pope is a big part of this team. He’s one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League and he sweeps up behind that high line and press that we’ve seen. It is a big part, but it’s not just about that. There’s more to it.

“If you look at shots faced in the game, you go from the fourth-best in the league to 15th. That’s not just the goalkeeper, that’s to do with the set-up in the team. The save ratio you would expect to be down.

Nick Pope is helped off the pitch by medical staff

Image: Nick Pope is expected back later this month

“The one that stands out is conceding three-plus goals, being the worst in the league – eight times in the last 14 games. That is unbelievable. This is for a team who, last season, were fantastic defensively.

“In the past, when you look at Eddie Howe’s teams – and a different level of team with Bournemouth – if they keep going as they are, they’re on course to conceded 60-plus goals and that will have happened six times in seven years as a manager.”

Wright: Newcastle were very poor

Newcastle

Image: Newcastle endured a tough night at Stamford Bridge

Monday Night Football guest Ian Wright questioned Newcastle’s approach against Chelsea and said he was disappointed by their performance.

He said: “I was very surprised that they played a high line and the press wasn’t very good at all, especially when you consider Nick Pope is a very good sweeper keeper. Sven Botman coming in had a poor game today.

“I cannot understand why they didn’t play a deep block and frustrate Chelsea more. I was confused by some of the things Eddie was saying [in his post-match interview] because I didn’t see where they had any kind of control.

“I thought Bruno Guimaraes was very poor, couldn’t get himself away from the fact that Nicolas Jackson and Conor Gallagher were in and around him. There wasn’t enough movement from him.

“In the main, Tino Livramento tried, but overall, very poor from them.”

Howe: We can defend better than tonight

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admits his side were guilty of defensive mistakes in their 3-2 defeat to Chelsea.

Newcastle boss Howe agreed that his side could have been better defensively and says they are in a tough spell after just two wins in their last seven games in all competitions.

“Strange game, frustrating one for us because we started well and conceded with their first attack,” he told Sky Sports. I don’t think it was a game with a lot of chances, but it was a high-scoring game.

“We were good in spells but obviously not good enough overall because the goals we conceded were really poor.

“I don’t think we had a problem with the overall flow of the game. We were competitive and creative, the final ball was maybe not good enough today. We had a lot of opportunities to test their back four.

“All three goals [conceded] were similar in their characteristics. We didn’t defend those situations well enough and you’re going to lose games if you do that.

“It is a familiar feeling from the last few months for us on the road. It’s been a tough spell for us and tonight epitomised that for us. We were good, but overall you’re left feeling disappointed because we know we can defend better than that.”

What’s next?

Chelsea host Championship side Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday March 17, kick-off 12.45pm. They return to Premier League action after the international break at home to Burnley on Saturday March 30. Kick-off 3pm.

Newcastle head to Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, kick-off 5.30pm. Their next Premier League fixture is at home to West Ham on Saturday March 30, kick-off 12.30pm.

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