Pundit slams 'shocking' Lascelles as Newcastle hit by 'massive blow'
Noel Whelan has insisted Watford’s last-gasp equaliser against Newcastle was down to “shocking” positioning from Jamaal Lascelles and will be a “massive blow” to confidence in Eddie Howe’s side.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the Magpies’ defence is the biggest “defect” at the Tyneside club.
Joao Pedro clambered above Lascelles to nod home a vital goal in the 88th minute as Watford claimed a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park on Saturday (15 January).
The goal not only means Howe’s side missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone but also means Newcastle have dropped 19 points from winning positions this season.
Whelan slammed Lascelles, suggesting the defender’s body position was “all wrong” in the vital last moments.
“It’s a massive blow – winning that game was crucial,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
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“The fans know that, the players know that, Eddie Howe knows that. But they’ve got to look at how they see out games and assess where these mistakes are coming from.
“It’s the central defenders. There are no bones about it, it’s been a defect of Newcastle even before the takeover.
“The marking, the concentration, the experience to see out a game and get the three points – it’s been shocking. Lascelles’ body was all wrong as the ball came in.
“Look, fair play to Watford for their persistence but they could have scored a lot more. Newcastle got away with a lot of mistakes they were making at the back, and that won’t always happen.
“That result will dent their confidence hugely, and probably even feel like a loss.”
Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League and have still won just one top-flight game this season.
The Magpies travel to Leeds United on Saturday.