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  1. Work-rate. Incisiveness. Nous. I don't ask for much. This is how it's gonna be. Build from the ground up. The Geordie sportwashers have up to now given the impression of being cautious - the complete opposite of other regimes taking over clubs and spending like pissed up sailors on leave. Chelsea have done so twice! Man City immediately broke the British transfer record. PSG went on a splurge when the Qataris took over. Newcastle have spent big money but they've been at pains to make it look about on par with clubs like Villa for example. They've also managed to get a tune out of their new signings for the most part, and others who were there pre-PIF have found a new lease of life. Almiron and Joelinton for example. Not so long ago, they only looked to pose a threat if Saint-Maximin turned up. Last season he was marginalised, and this season he's enabled them to 'massage' the books after being flogged - pardon the pun - to the Saudi Pro League. If anything, PIF have done with that what many expected would happen at Newcastle. Last season's fixture was great for the first half an hour. The Geordies had looked to come flying out of the blocks and we took a little while to get going. But we grabbed the first goal thank to some instinctive finishing from Darwin. He's better when he doesn't have time to think. Benteke was like that too, although there is more to the Uruguayan's game. He seems a bit slow in he head mind you. Cody doubled the advantage after some more incisively play. And then Nick Pope had a brainfart, charging out of the Newcastle goal to thwart Mo before inexplicably batting the ball away while still outside the area. The Geordies were down to 10 so surely we'd grab some more goals right? Wrong. We just eased right up and played without much purpose after that, and too often looked like we were a man light. Only as the game entered the final 10 minutes did it look like Newcastle had run out of steam. Since the spring of 2022, we have made a habit of starting games sluggishly and being too open. At that time, we were still winning practically every game, but last season we kept getting punished. This season, while we haven't yet been made to pay, it's still something that we have yet to eradicate. Trent and especially Ali were taking the piss early on against Bournemouth last week. We've got to be more switched on, from first minute to last. I would actually advocate a cautious set-up and approach to give our players defensive confidence that they can quickly plug gaps and not give up so many chances. Then the attacking game can be allowed a bit more freedom. Don't give teams hope that they can remain in a game when they play us. The last week of the transfer window is still where many fans are focused. Will we address the gaps in the squads and sign the right players to fill them? Will it be a damp squib folowed by an apology video from Henry? Our focus should be on the game. Concentration, attitude and application need to be tip-top. Don't give reason for the crowd to get up for it. Go grab the 3 points and show that we are still a formidable side. Whatever else is for another time. Get it gone!
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