Allardyce: We cannot afford to lose to Newcastle

11 May 2023
Manchester City v Leeds United - Premier League

New Leeds United head coach says team must get something from his first match at Elland Road

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Sam Allardyce says his first home match as manager of Leeds United is one that his team must not lose.

Leeds kick off Matchweek 36 against Newcastle United at Elland Road in 19th position and 30 points. After losing 2-1 at Manchester City in his first match in charge, Allardyce needs his team to get positive results from their remaining three matches to avoid relegation after two seasons in the Premier League.

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“I have said to the players, and I’ll say now, when we come off the field on Saturday, we can’t afford to lose,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Thursday. “We must get something.

“The biggest thing that can happen to us against Newcastle is not to lose, because at least you get a point on the board.

“If we got three, I’m 40 or 50 per cent thinking we could stay safe now.

“To give ourselves the best chance, we want to get a point on the board but, more importantly, three if we can.

“ It won’t be over [if they lose] but that would mean we go into two games [against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur] and even if we win both then that might not be enough.

“We won’t stay up on 30 points. Nobody’s ever going to do it. We’ve got nine points to go for. We know if we get nine points, which is a massive ask, we’ll stay up. If we get six, we might do. I want to be still in it when we play Tottenham.”

See: Weekend preview - Now or never for Big Sam

Allardyce denied that the threat of relegation should inhibit his players.

“The fear needs to drive them [the players] on, the fear of relegation, the fear of losing their Premier League status should make them hopefully fight and fight hard for their status, [for] their position at Leeds United,” he said.

He also identified where he might be able to get his team to exploit a Newcastle side who lost last time out to Arsenal, going down 2-0 at St James’ Park.

“At the other end, you can get in behind and you can get down the side of Newcastle if you can break through midfield,” he told Leeds official website.

“So it depends on our quality, then when we get to the final third and what we decide to do with that final ball.

“If we don't get the ball right, we won't create as many chances as we would like, to put Newcastle under pressure.

“I'd like us to score the first goal if possible. That’s very important for us on Saturday. Getting the first goal would be a big lift.”

The relegation fight

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
16 Nottingham Forest NFO 38 -30 38
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
See the full table

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