Former Manchester Utd midfielder Owen Hargreaves has said he ‘wouldn’t have played for a month’ if he defended like Sandro Tonali did in Newcastle’s defeat to Brighton.
Eddie Howe’s team fell victim to an Evan Ferguson hat-trick, with the Seagulls winning the match 3-1 at the Amex on Saturday.
There was a comedy of errors leading to Brighton’s first goal. A failed clearance from Nick Pope eventually led to Tonali completely missing the ball on the edge of his box, giving Billy Gilmour the chance to shoot, which was parried straight into the path of Ferguson.
The manner in which Tonali responded to the mistake has been criticised, too, as he didn’t close Gilmour down as soon as he made the mistake. He simply stood and watched him shoot instead.
Hargreaves stated if he had done that under Sir Alex Ferguson, then it wouldn’t have gone down well with the legendary manager.
Newcastle won 5-1 against Aston Villa in their opening match of the season but have lost three matches to Man City, Liverpool and Brighton since.
The Magpies are probably glad that the international break has now arrived, but they certainly haven’t helped themselves, with Alan Shearer and Owen Hargreaves sharing their thoughts.
“From Newcastle’s point of view, there were so many errors leading up to the goal there,” said Shearer.
“There is the first one, it has got to go. It’s so sloppy from Nick Pope. Then it’s Trippier diving in. Then, another mistake from Tonali and it was lazy on his part not to close it down, then another big error from Nick Pope. What’s that? Four errors leading up to the goal?”
Hargreaves added about Tonali: “I know what Sir Alex would have said to me. I wouldn’t have played for a month if I did that.
“It’s quite simple really, you have to make clean contact – just clear your lines.”
Newcastle signed Tonali for £55m in July. The Italy international has started all four of their matches so far, scoring in their opening victory against Aston Villa.
The midfielder will hope that his lacklustre showing on Saturday won’t cost him his spot in Howe’s starting XI.
Newcastle will look to bounce back from their underwhelming start to the season when they play Brentford at St James’ Park after the international break on September 16.