We weren't up to scratch - Lascelles
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Captain Jamaal Lascelles gave an honest assessment after Newcastle United slipped to a narrow defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at St. James’ Park.
A second-half header from Lascelles’ opposite number Glenn Loovens proved decisive for the Owls, who condemned United to a first defeat in four outings.
Lascelles admitted United never really found their mojo on a disappointing evening at Gallowgate, Rafa Benitez’s side missing the chance to re-establish their four-point lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
“We weren’t up to it today,” he told nufc.co.uk. “I thought we started off well – we had quite a few chances. Maybe we should have done better attacking set-pieces. Perhaps we need to work on getting our head on a few more, because the deliveries are good.
“Their manager must have told them to slow the game down, because every time we went forward we were getting kicked. They were fouling us every time we went forward. We didn’t really get to play our normal football.
“You can always ‘um’ and ‘ah’ and argue, but the referee has to keep everyone happy and make the right decision. There’s nothing we can change, and ultimately, that’s not what has cost us the game – what cost us the game was them winning second balls in our box and us not putting our chances away.”
Newcastle were forced to make do without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey against Wednesday, as the midfielder – a virtual ever-present during the Magpies’ first 22 Championship fixtures this season – began his five-game suspension.
Lascelles felt that United’s Boxing Day reverse had little to do with Shelvey’s absence, however, and is already setting his sights on Friday’s visit of former club Nottingham Forest – a side who overcame the Magpies in controversial fashion earlier this month.
“Jonjo does bring something different, but we have players who can slot into every position,” he said. “We have a really strong team and players who are wanting to play, so it’s nothing to do with that. We could play a completely different team and I’d still expect us to win.
“I’m glad we have another game around the corner. It’s a massive game for us – not just to win the three points, but also to beat them. Last time at their place, I felt we were a bit hard done by, and we’re really looking forward to going into that game with 11 men and having them on our turf.”
"We weren’t up to it today. In the first-half, we created a lot of chances, but Sheffield Wednesday managed the game quite well."