By Russell Edge

25th Apr, 2018 | 8:55am

'Hard for us' - Newcastle star raves over Everton after pinpointing key weakness in defeat

Newcastle United defender and captain Jamaal Lascelles has been left raving over the defensive performance from Everton which stifled their ability to supply Islam Slimani with any chances.

The Magpies travelled to Goodison Park on Monday night off the back of four consecutive wins but it was the Toffees, who sit just one place above Rafael Benitez and his men, who came away with victory thanks to a Theo Walcott goal.

In a game lacking in clear goal scoring opportunities, Lascelles admitted he could do nothing but applaud Sam Allardyce’s side for their work in closing down and breaking up the visitors’ play, pinpointing a lack of supply to striker Slimani, making his first start for the club, as the key weakness in defeat.

He told the Chronicle: “He (Slimani) worked hard for us at Everton and they made it hard for us to play and to give him good service.

“You can’t point the finger at anybody because we win as a team and lose as a team.

“We didn’t really get the chance to get the ball down and play or get up the pitch. Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up and say fair play to Everton, because we gave our all.

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“They started the game really well and made it hard for us. We struggled to get out of our own half at times.”

Football Insider verdict

It is not often you hear the opposition singing your praises, but it just goes to show the class and humility that Lascelles has to give the Toffees a rave review. It really was not a game for the purists and the lack of chances meant it had an air of an end-of-season encounter, with both sides practically safe from the drop and with a gap to clubs immediately below them. On the day, it was Everton’s defence who won out but it could have been so different on another night. At least Newcastle have pinpointed their issue and have the chance to work on it before their next game.

In other Newcastle United news, one senior mainstay could be all that is left of one position in a major cull this summer.

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