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Shelvey sees signs of promise as Magpies hit back for draw

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Jonjo Shelvey felt that Newcastle were rewarded for sticking to their guns as the Magpies fought back from a goal down to earn a point at Brighton on Saturday evening.

The Magpies struggled to get a foothold early on and found themselves trailing to Leandro Trossard’s penalty after 24 minutes, which the Belgian forward won for himself – albeit with the aid of a VAR check – after being tripped by Ciaran Clark.

However, United upped the ante after the interval, unsettling the Seagulls in possession and enjoying longer periods on the ball themselves. And, midway through the second half, they were rewarded for their improvement as Isaac Hayden thumped the ball home after a neat move involving Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin and Clark.

Shelvey praised the Magpies for demonstrating bravery on the ball, and suggested that showing more in the way of adventure could prove key as they bid to heave themselves out of the Premier League’s drop-zone.

Asked as to what Graeme Jones’ message was between two contrasting halves, Shelvey told nufc.co.uk: “Just to keep going. We tried to play football tonight, which we haven’t done in recent weeks. Everyone wanted the ball, which was a pleasure to see. We actually got on the ball and made things happen and that’s the way I feel we need to play, because you can’t just defend for 90 minutes in this league – you’re going to get punished eventually. (Being able to play the same way regularly) is going to take time and it’s going to take a lot of practice on the training pitch, but we’ll get back to work next week and work on it.

“In the second half, we were the better team, and we should have won the game, really. Brighton are a fantastic team, to be fair – they pass the ball very well and they get in behind your lines, but I thought we defended very well. The goal they scored was a penalty, which was a tough one to take at the time.

“All in all I thought it was a good performance. We battled and showed spirit and we showed a lot of character. It’s a point, and we’ve had a couple of defeats recently. We’re still vying for that first win, but we’ll get there.”

For Shelvey, it was a first start for Newcastle since the Magpies’ 4-2 defeat to West Ham at St. James’ Park on the opening day of the season. A combination of injury and suspension has meant that he has figured just twice in the interim period – having to make do with less than 40 minutes of Premier League game-time – while being forced to rebuild his match fitness with United’s second string.

However, the 29-year-old didn’t miss a second at the Amex on Saturday evening – the first time he has started and finished a game for Newcastle, competitive or otherwise, since May.

“I thought I did reasonably well,” he said. “It’s obviously different to playing Under-23s’ football, though I needed to go and get the game-time there because I’ve not played since the opening day.

“I just enjoyed being back out there – the crowd, getting on the ball and making us tick, and I think I did that to a reasonable level today.”

"We actually got on the ball and made things happen and that’s the way I feel we need to play, because you can’t just defend for 90 minutes in this league – you’re going to get punished eventually."

Jonjo Shelvey

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