Three at back can work for Newcastle Utd despite Stoke City defeat

Stoke City's Peter Crouch (left) and Newcastle United's Mike Williamson battle for the ball
Stoke City's Peter Crouch (left) and Newcastle United's Mike Williamson battle for the ball

STEVEN Taylor says Newcastle United CAN make three at the back work.

Alan Pardew took a tactical gamble against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday by fielding a three-man defence.

But ploy couldn’t stop Newcastle – who had conceded 11 goals in their previous three outings – slipping to a fourth successive Premier League defeat, with Erik Pieters’s misdirected cross giving the home side a 1-0 win.

However, defender Taylor, recalled to the starting XI to play alongside Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson, felt United deserved something for their efforts.

“I think it was an improvement,” Taylor said.

“We felt comfortable, but the next thing we knew, the ball was in the back of the net from a cross, which was a fluke goal.

“A draw would have been a fair result.

“We saw what they were doing. They couldn’t break through us.

“Our boys were pressing them hard, and they kept playing side to side. We got after them, and when we did get the ball, I thought we played some good football.

“I thought we looked very solid, and couldn’t see them breaking us down.”

The decision of United manager Pardew – who also recalled Tim Krul, Shola Ameobi and Paul Dummett to his starting XI – to switch to a 3-5-2 formation was questioned by supporters before the game.

But long-serving Taylor felt the players were comfortable with the system, which Kevin Keegan often toyed with during his first spell in charge of Newcastle.

The 28-year-old said: “I’ve got no problem at all with that. If you get told to play in a position, you play there.

“It’s no different with 4-4-2, or whatever.

“I thought it worked well for us. We played some good football. We controlled the game for 40 minutes.”