Martin Dubravka reveals what was ‘unexpected’ about Newcastle’s defeat to West Ham

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Martin Dubravka bemoaned a “sloppy” performance from Newcastle United after Rafa Benitez’s side suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.

West Ham United won 3-0 at St James’s Park on Saturday thanks to two goals from Javier Hernandez and a strike from Felipe Anderson.

I don’t think we played particularly badly, but we gave them too many opportunities to score and they punished us.

Martin Dubravka

The defeat brought an end to a three-game winning run.

“It was unexpected and unfortunate,” said Dubravka.

“I don’t think we played particularly badly, but we gave them too many opportunities to score and they punished us.

“It was sloppy on our behalf, but I don’t really know what to say.

“We need to analyse the goals, have a look again at the mistakes we made, see where we need to improve.

“It was certainly not our best performance, and unfortunately we lost.”

Newcastle made a promising start, but West Ham opened the scoring in the 11th minute as protesting fans took their seats after delaying their entrance in protest against owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez’s side had chances to equalise at a soggy St James’s Park, but a second goal from Hernandez ended hopes of a comeback.

And a late strike from Anderson, superb all game, capped a miserable afternoon for Newcastle.

After the game, Benitez acknowledged the threat that Hernandez, Anderson, Marko Arnautovic and Robert Snodgrass posed on the break.

“West Ham are good on the break, but we knew that,” said manager Benitez.

“They have some quality players on the counter-attack, but we were trying to push them and trying to create some chances.

“We were too open, and they punished us for it. They have quality players, but in those circumstances you can’t give them the kind of space we did.

“Sometimes it was their four players against two of ours, and that makes it impossible.

“You get games like that sometimes, but we have to get it out of our system.”

Dubravka, however, felt there were some “good things” to take from the game.

“We have to be critical of ourselves, but I think we also showed some good things in the game,” said the goalkeeper.

“Of course, we made three or four big mistakes, and West Ham took advantage of that.

“We know we should have scored a few goals of our own, because we had the chances to do it, but we didn’t manage it.

“We felt confident beforehand, especially at home. We’d had three victories in a row, and wanted to show our fans we could give them another one, but sometimes things just don’t go the right way for you.

“Unfortunately, we lost today but we have another game on Wednesday, and that’s really good, because it helps us to get this out of our system.

“We will sit down, look through the DVD and analyse what we could have done better.

“There were many things we could improve on, but we also shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves.

“There was stuff there we should be proud of. We need to draw on the three victories we had before, and I really think that this defeat against a quality team doesn’t take us back to the position we were in nearer the start of the season.”

Meanwhile, West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta hailed Anderson after the game.

Anderson, 25, joined the club from Lazio in the summer for a reported fee of £36million.

“Felipe is improving game by game,” said Zabaleta.

“He scored a great goal, is working hard for the team and is enjoying his football. So when he’s at his best, he is a real player, very dangerous going forward.

“I’m sure we will see the best of Felipe in the games ahead.

“Every top team needs two or three key players to make things happen, and he can be one of those for us.

“But consistency is what you look for, and we’re hoping he can continue like this.”

Hernandez, 30, has previously been linked with Newcastle.

“We know he’s a six-yard box player, and that if you cross or put a good ball in, he’s always there in the right place at the right moment,” said Zabaleta.

“He was on the spot for the first goal, and the second one was a great finish.

“We played with two strikers with Marko and him, and it was good, but everyone individually was on their game.

“And, of course, when everyone does that, and collectively you’re good, invariably you get the right result.”