By Russell Edge
Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson has admitted that he was wrong about the character of the Newcastle United players after the Magpies won their third game in a row.
Goals from Christian Atsu and Jamaal Lascelles were enough to secure a 2-1 home victory over Stoke, adding to wins over Swansea and West Ham in recent weeks.
The result has launched Rafael Benitez’s side into fourth place on nine points, and their impressive performances and run of results has had Thompson confessing that he did not think the players had it in them to succeed in the top flight.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News, Thompson, one of their top pundits, said: “Players that I thought didn’t have the ability, or passion, to do it every game, are rising to the occasion every game.
“There is a lot of confidence oozing through the side.
“Crisis, what crisis?
“That is what people were saying earlier on.”
Thompson reserved special mention for the Magpies’ captain Lascelles, who has shown up as the match winner for two successive games.
“He has been the rock that they have built on,” the former Liverpool and England defender told Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports.
“You can see he is the leader, he has been absolutely terrific.”
The 23-year-old joined the Magpies in 2014 from Nottingham Forest, although he spent the 2014/15 season on loan with his former side before making the move up to Tyneside.
His first league start came in January 2016, and has gone on to make 74 appearances across all competitions for the club, with his goal against Swansea the seventh of his Newcastle career.
In other Newcastle United news, Football Insider gave one man a 4/10 in their player ratings for the clash against Mark Hughes’ side.