Bailey calls for improvement after youngsters falter at Fulham
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Owen Bailey feels that Newcastle United Under-23s have to tighten up at the back after Fulham condemned the Magpies to a sixth successive defeat away from home.
A goal either side of the break was the undoing of Peter Beardsley’s side. Michael Elstone opened the scoring deep into first-half stoppage time, and the forward played in Elijah Adebayo to net the Cottagers’ second less than 30 seconds after the interval.
Though they did record a 4-1 win over Reading at Whitley Park on Monday night, United’s youngsters have now shipped more than 40 goals in all competitions this term, and have not kept a clean sheet since mid-September.
And Bailey, handed a first start of the season in the Premier League 2 Division Two – alongside Dan Barlaser in central midfield – admitted that the Magpies’ defensive record will need to improve urgently if they are to come anywhere close to matching last year’s third-place finish.
“We did play well for 40 minutes, and we missed a couple of good chances, but we can’t really expect to get anything from the game when we concede goals like that,” he told nufc.co.uk.
“We came out for the second half and our heads were down because we conceded just before half time, but at the same time we still had a bit of encouragement because we’d been playing quite well. Ben (Dawson) said that we’d created a few chances, and told us to stay positive, keep it going and keep it tight. But, conceding as early as we did kind of changed everything. We struggled to kick on from there.
“We know we can do better in front of goal, but I don’t think it’s just down to that. We’ve conceded so many goals recently, we need to tighten up at the back, as well. We’re not scoring many and we’re conceding too many, so obviously we need to work on that.”
On a personal level, Bailey was pleased to be given the chance to line up alongside off-the-field pal Barlaser, and spoke of his determination to help the Magpies get their season up and running again come Wednesday, when they host Swansea City in the Premier League Cup.
“It’s good to play next to Dan. Obviously, we’re friends off the pitch, so we get on well,” the teenager said. “He’s a great player and he helps you out a lot, and it’s good to play in midfield.
“We’re hoping to kick on on Wednesday and get the win, and hopefully build a bit of momentum, which is what we need.”
"We did play well for 40 minutes, and we missed a couple of good chances, but we can’t really expect to get anything from the game when we concede goals like that."