'Almost smells a little bit' - Exclusive: Kevin Phillips rips into some Newcastle players
Kevin Phillips has ripped into some members of Newcastle United squad for suspect attitudes in their FA Cup draw against Oxford United.
The former Sunderland and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes Steve Bruce’s men expected an easier run-out against the League One side and failed to lift their game as a result.
The north east giants were held to a 0-0 draw by the third-tier outfit at St James’ Park, meaning the two sides will go head-to-head in a replay at the Kassam Stadium.
Phillips says that he thinks the Magpies’ stars took the game too lightly and suffered as a result, insisting Bruce would have wanted to avoid a replay.
Phillips told Football Insider: “I’ve seen Oxford play a couple times, they play some good football. He put out a strong team did Steve, it wasn’t like it was a second-string.
“That almost smells a little bit of: ‘It’s only Oxford, we only need to turn up and win the game,’ and nowadays that doesn’t happen. The Oxford players going up there, it’s like a cup final for them.
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“Going to a huge stadium, they raise their game. If you turn up to the ground thinking: ‘We only need to turn up today, have a little kickabout and we’ll win,” it doesn’t happen like that. Steve could have done without the replay but they’ll have to go and do it the hard way.”
Excluding Karl Darlow and Nabil Bentaleb, who were given a rare runout and a debut respectively, the rest of the side from Saturday have all featured regularly for the first team this season.
The replay will take place next Tuesday, with Newcastle playing Norwich City at home on Saturday in the Premier League.
In other Newcastle United news, Danny Mills has made a bold claim about one Magpies star.