This was not the beautiful game in action. There was passion, heroic endeavour and controversy, but it was not a day for footballing artistry. All the same, Martin O’Neill, by some distance the more dignified of the managers (Pardew was an utter disgrace), tells in his post-match e-mail of coming away with an awful lot of pride to go with the point that was so nearly three. See also Sixer’s Sevens: heroes and villains …
I’m very proud of the players for the way they defended today. It was bitterly disappointing to concede so late in the game after having held out with 10 men for the last half an hour.
I’m very proud of the team and very proud of the supporters; in turn I think the supporters will be very proud of their team too.
Taking into consideration the atmosphere of the game, I think we played splendidly in the first half.
We got ourselves in front in the game and we weathered the storm as Newcastle threw a lot of men forward and gave us a few tough moments.
The sending off changed the complexion of the game and Newcastle threw caution to the wind after we went down to 10 men.
We didn’t have control of the game at that point, although we were still passing the ball around quite nicely.
It was a tough penalty for [Nicklas] Bendtner to take but he stuck it in brilliantly – I’m delighted. I thought he played well today until he ran out of steam in the second half.
Simon Mignolet pulled off a fantastic save for their penalty.
After last week I felt we owed something to the supporters. We didn’t play well last week, but I have to put it in the context of the last couple of months.
Once the dust settles, had we been talking about winning the game, I would have said it would have been thoroughly deserved.
All the best,
* See Kartun Malaysia’s Flickr images at this link