Isaac Hayden points to tactical flaw in Newcastle United defeat

Same starting XI, different game.

Monday, 21st September 2020, 12:30 pm
Isaac Hayden challenges Aaron Connolly.

Steve Bruce named an unchanged Premier League team for yesterday’s home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Newcastle United had opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium the previous weekend – and the same XI took to the field against Graham Potter’s side.

Bruce chose not to hand Miguel Almiron a start, and he again fielded Andy Carroll up front with Callum Wilson for the behind-closed-doors game, which was watched by owner Mike Ashley.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The result, however, was very different. Newcastle never recovered from conceding two early goals – Neal Maupay struck twice inside the first eight minutes, the first coming from the penalty spot – and United were convincingly beaten 3-0 by a team which is very comfortable in possession.

Brighton comfortably dealt with the balls that were aimed at Carroll, who was replaced by Almiron at the break.

For his part, midfielder Isaac Hayden felt that United never got to grips with Brighton’s formation.

“Tactically, we had to be a lot different than we were against West Ham,” Hayden told NUFC TV.

"It was a completely different formation, and obviously Brighton are well renowned to keep the ball, and keep possession of the ball very well. I just thought we didn’t really get to grips with their formation throughout the game, and they always seemed to have the upper hand, which was frustrating.

"Especially when you start the game the way we did, it doesn’t matter about formations and tactics and everything, it’s just about concentration and doing the basics right, which we didn’t do.”

"Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Look, it doesn’t matter what you do if you give yourself a start like that,” said Newcastle’s head coach. "I understand your point (about Almiron), but if you’re 2-0 down after seven minutes, then it becomes difficult against a team who obviously base their style on possession and who made it very, very difficult for us.

"I think it would have been unfair on Andy with the performance he put in last week.”