Ex-Newcastle boss slams ‘weak’ and ‘joke’ defending of Mikel Merino

Aaron Mooy scores.
Aaron Mooy scores.

Graeme Souness has blasted Newcastle United new boy Mikel Merino for his part in Huddersfield Town’s winner.

The Spanish youngster made his first Premier league start when he replaced the suspended Jonjo Shelvey at the John Smith’s Stadium.

But he was unable to prevent Huddersfield midfielder Aaron Mooy from grabbing the only goal of the game.

Afterwards, Sky Sports pundit and former Newcastle manager Souness criticised Merino’s defending for the Australian’s goal.

Souness said on Super Sunday: “How do you stop a goal like that? Quite easily! Mikel Merino, when he comes out to confront Mooy, his sole intention is to not receive any physical contact from Mooy, or indeed not to get hit with the ball.

“It’s a joke! You’re defending 20 yards from your goal, take a blow for the cause.

“You can’t win games of football when you’ve got people making those decisions so close to your goal.

“It’s weak, it’s like something you’d see in kids’ football.

“You’ve got to stand back and admire the goal, but from the other side of the coin, you’ve got to speak to him. Take a blow for the cause!”

Mooy, meanwhile, was delighted with the strike. He said: : “It is hard to describe. I am very proud and I am very proud for everyone.

“It is a special goal, the club’s first home Premier League goal so I’m very proud.”