David Ginola believes the current Newcastle team needs to be “reshaped from scratch”, insisting his former side requires more spirit and creativity following their 5-1 thrashing at Tottenham.
Newcastle took the lead in north London on Sunday before Spurs ran riot to move into the top four and deal their opponents a third consecutive Premier League defeat.
The Magpies have significantly improved under head coach Eddie Howe and still find themselves nine points above the relegation, but Ginola – who made 76 appearances for the club from 1995 until 1997 – thinks they need to entirely rethink their strategy.
“I was disappointed not with the result, but the reaction. I think the team needs to be reshaped from scratch because tactically they try to copycat other teams without the quality you need,” he said in the Sky Sports studio on Super Sunday.
“The team needs to be reshaped not with the same players.
“We need to find a way that Newcastle is going to use their spirit and believe in what they do. What we saw there was when they lost the ball, everyone was doing the same thing. I think they need to have their own way of playing football.
“They need to put more of an emphasis on creativity. There’s no creativity and there needs to be more spirit there.
“With the entertainers, Kevin Keegan didn’t ask us to do much. Tactically it wasn’t massive, it was like ‘okay David, I want you to do that, you’re good at doing this. I don’t want you to defend because I want you to be there.’ That’s very simple. Don’t ask someone to do something they can’t do.
“If I was working for the club seeing a game like that – five goals conceded after opening the scoring – do you think this is professional?
“The project will start at the end of this season and it will maybe take five or six years to build a club from scratch.
“When I say building a team from scratch, it’s not getting rid of everyone, it’s just to rethink the whole thing because if you think about the entertainers were just players who really enjoy being together. They really enjoyed playing together and spending time together. The dressing room for me is vital. You need to build a family and a football club is a family.”
Howe: We chased the game at 2-1, next three games massive
In contrast, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe insisted his side had done well up until Ben Davies’ equaliser – and said the reason for the second-half collapse was due to the team’s approach when they went 2-1 down, rather than a lack of quality on their part.
“We produced a very good performance up until the moment Fabian scored. I was hugely disappointed to go in at 1-1. Bar a few nervy moments at the start I thought we’d controlled them,” he said.
“The key goal is the second goal – the manner of it from our perspective, we needed to feel our way into the second half. Then we chased the game in a very aggressive way and played in a way we shouldn’t have done. We were far too open but it was in our desire to chase the game.
“We became expansive, took risks with the ball and then got punished by a top-level team. Some of the goals they scored on transitions were very good. We didn’t manage that part of the game at all.”
While Newcastle still have a reasonable cushion on the relegation zone, Howe says their next three games, at home to Wolves, Leicester and Crystal Palace, could be crucial to their survival hopes.
He also called on the Newcastle supporters to turn those home games into big occasions and show their support for their side.
“It’s a massive period coming up for us,” he said. “We’re aware this run of games we’ve just exited out of was difficult for us, a lot of away games, and we’re pleased to return home where our form has been good.
“We need the crowd and stadium united to make that atmosphere as intense as we can for our opponents. This is going to be a massive spell which will go a long way to dictate our fate this season.
“This is a little jolt and reminder we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We have to fight and battle for every point. We have to use the pain of today in our next games and get the stadium absolutely rocking.”