Newcastle is adamant that Andy Carroll has what it takes to come back from its mid-table slump and climb back up the Premier League table. In six games in all competitions, the Magpies conceded their fourth loss as in-form Leicester left St. James’ Park with a 2-1 victory on Sunday, crushing some of the excitement created by a spirited display in which four days earlier they kept champions Liverpool to a 0-0 draw.
Since the middle of last month, the Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to champions Brentford left them with just two points out of a possible 15, but Carroll maintains the team is holding together, telling NUFC TV: “We’ve defended well, we’ve played well forward and we’re a team – and that’s how we’re training every day. “The recent downturn of Newcastle – they’ve built themselves in the mid-table. They defended well against the Foxes before, in the 55th minute, James Maddison completed a fast counter-attack for the opening goal. Then Youri Tielemans scored the opening goal again, 18 minutes from the end. On the other hand, Newcastle looked slow and incoherent defensively and only became very dangerous after substitute Carroll produced danger with long balls in the closing stages. The absence of Allan Saint-Maximin, who continues to recover from coronavirus, highlighted Bruce’s lack of speed and inventiveness, and only modest progress was achieved by the head coach’s attempts to drive his team further forward. In the 82nd minute, Carroll’s consolation goal was his first in 378 minutes of play – a vulnerability that the team urgently needs to fix if it is to prevent its season from falling further off the rails. On Boxing Day against Manchester City in 2010, just over a month before his £ 35 million transfer to Liverpool, the striker last scored for his home club, and although the goal was a relief, it counted for nothing. Carroll said: “It’s been a long time but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything so we’ll just move on to the next one.”