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7th Jan, 2017 | 4:56pm

Senior duo need to be sold: Three things we learned about Newcastle from draw against Birmingham

By Amir Mir

Football Insider analyses the three talking points as Newcastle draw 1-1 with Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Senior duo need to be sold

Cheik Tioté and Jack Colback were extremely poor during the FA Cup clash and they need to be sold. The senior duo were simply not good enough and failed to provide any energy to their midfield. With the absence of Jonjo Shelvey, no-one is stepping up and providing the creativity or defensive quality needed. This was proven against Birmingham as both Tiote and Colback constantly lost the ball in dangerous areas. With the January transfer window open, Rafa Benitez needs to add quality to his midfield, else it could become a bigger problem in the future.

Defensive problems

From goalkeeper Matz Sels to Achraf Lazaar, it is quite clear that Newcastle need to add defensive cover into their team. Belgian Sels, who was dropped earlier on in the campaign, showed signs of nervousness during the game. When the opposition team crossed the ball into the penalty area, Sels’ decision-making came into question as he showed signs of uncertainty. As for Lazaar, he had a tough game and was at fault for Birmingham’s goal as he should not have been beaten by Jonathan Grounds.

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Need to learn how to kill off games

The away side looked pretty comfortable during the first half of their FA Cup clash but they conceded a poor goal before half time and as result made life difficult for themselves. Rafa Benitez’ side have done this on numerous occasions, most recently during their away loss at Blackburn. The Magpies need to make use of their possession and punish their opponents, else, in the Championship, they will continue to drop valuable points.

In other Newcastle news, Don Hutchison believes these three signings would take the Magpies to the next level.