NEWCASTLE: Kieran Trippier believes patience is a virtue for Newcastle United when it comes to English Premier League points and progress.
The Magpies have so far been frustrated in their search for an elusive second win of the top-flight campaign, having not claimed three points since the opening-day victory over Nottingham Forest.
They head to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Saturday looking to end that run, which has seen them draw five and lose one — in time added on at Anfield — to see them sit slap bang in the middle of the Premier League table.
And while some fans are starting to question Eddie Howe’s new possession-based methods, which are a far cry from the counter-attack systems of old, England international Trippier is in no doubt.
He said: “You see teams now coming to St. James’ and have that low block, so we’ve just got to deal with that, try to break teams down, and be more composed at certain teams. That will come of course it will, but it’s been a big change since January, so we just need to keep taking the next steps. It’s just about being patient.
“You look at when we played Manchester City, they were 3-1 down but they didn’t panic, they kept the ball, they know they’re 3-1 down and they believed they could get back into the game.
“That’s where we want to be as a club, like Man City, like Liverpool, it’s just about not panicking, keeping the ball, keeping composed, and the opportunities will come,” he added.
Trippier returns from England duty this week having played a peripheral role for Gareth Southgate’s men. Last year’s European Championships runners up have largely flattered to deceive since their summer 2021 exploits. They did so again against Italy and Germany, although recovered from being 2-0 down to draw 3-3 with the Germans at Wembley in their final pre-Qatar encounter, with Trippier an unused sub in both matches.
On his time with England, the United skipper said: “It’s always an honor of course, going back to my debut against France, I’ve always enjoyed going whether I play or not.
“Everyone knows how much I give to the team. It’s good to see the lads, see the manager and come back with the games coming thick and fast for Newcastle.”
United will come face-to-face with former striker, and in-form Premier League frontman, Aleksandar Mitrovic when they take on the Cottagers this weekend — and the Serbian very much has a point to prove against Newcastle, having struggled for form, goals, and games in his three campaigns on Tyneside.
Newcastle, however, will be looking to two forwards of their own — Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin — to kick their campaign back into life.
“You’ve seen Maxi the past couple of games he played before he got injured, he’s shown what he’s all about, so direct, so quick, he’s impossible to play against and I see it in training every day.
“Callum as well is a natural goalscorer, so they’re two massive players for us and they are a miss, but we’ve got players who can step in. We’ve got a good group and good competition,” Trippier added.
United looked a more potent frontline force with Wilson in the team, although reflecting back on the start the team has made this season, Trippier has regrets.
He said: “Mixed feelings really, if you look at the way we played against City, Liverpool and to only come out of those two games with one point is disappointing.
“We want to go toe-to-toe with these teams and that’s what we’re trying to do, the way we’re playing is different to when the takeover happened. We’re taking the right steps.”
On the disappointment of the home draw with Bournemouth, a result which dampened the wave of positivity at St. James’ Park somewhat, Trippier added: “There was no excuse, we should be full of energy but at times in football, these things just happen.
“You have to give credit to Bournemouth for the way they played but there’s no excuses from us. Second half was a bit different; we had a lot of possession and it’s about being controlled and patient with the ball and at times we weren’t, we were shooting from 45-yards out which isn’t us.
“Disappointing, it feels like two points dropped obviously. Again, we create so many chances, we just need to be clinical to take that next step.”
United look set to be without Alexander Isak and fellow striker Chris Wood in southwest London this weekend, with both players returning injured from international duty with Sweden and New Zealand, respectively.
Better news is hoped for on Bruno Guimaraes, with the Brazilian expected to again be available, so too Wilson. Saint-Maximin is said to be touch and go for a Newcastle return, having not played since the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last month.