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Attack is the best form of defence

Attack is the best form of defence

Nikos Dabizas has told Newcastle fans to expect plenty more goals following the 4-0 drubbing of West Ham which saw United burst into the Premiership's pole position.

The Greek international has formed a solid partnership with Titus Bramble at the heart of the United defence, keeping two consecutive clean sheets so far this season.

But Dabizas is under no illusions that United's major strength is in their attacking, rather than their defensive play, as they strive to meet the expectations of the Toon Army.

He explained: "The fans want us to go forward the whole time. If we play a defensive game and get many people behind the ball the fans won't like it.

"We might not concede as many, but we wouldn't score as many and the fans wouldn't be as happy. It is a difficult job for the back four, but we expect that.

"We are the most attacking team in the Premiership and sometimes we suffer for that. But we and the fans wouldn't want it any other way - that is the way they like football at St James's Park.

"On the other hand, we all have to realise that teams are going to come here and stick ten men behind the ball.

"We are not a surprise to teams any more and they will defend, defend, defend against us.

"It will be much more difficult. They know we can destroy them if we have space, so they will keep it tight and then they and hit us on the break. We have to be prepared for that."

The 29-year-old added that, while he is pleased to have kept two consecutive clean sheets as his partnership with Bramble begins to take shape, he does not expect Newcastle to finish the season with one of the division's tightest defences.

He explained: "It is too early in the season to get too carried away with anything but, yes, it is pleasing to have kept two clean sheets in our first two games, especially when people have criticised the defence in the past.

"I don't think it is a coincidence that we are a team which concedes goals. We are a team who go forward the whole time, so it is harder to prevent them.

"We leave gaps in the back as a result, but even if we had the best defence in the world you would still leave gaps because it is the nature of the team."

Dabizas, like the rest of the United back four, enjoyed a fairly comfortable opening run-out in the Premiership against the Hammers, although the former Olympiakos man was undoubtedly the pick of the defenders on show on Monday night.

But he, like the rest of the 51,000 in St James's Park, could only marvel at Lomana LuaLua's virtuoso performance.

He said: "He was very dangerous all game and he got the two goals he deserved.

"It was a fine performance from him and all the lads are very pleased for him as he has not had too many opportunities to start games."

But Dabizas also feels the Congo DR international has a lot to learn.

He said: "He's an unbelievable talent. In training he can take the ball from the edge of his own box, go round six players and score.

"The most important thing for him now is to get things right in his head.

"He has to learn when to do things, when to pass, when to hold the ball up, when to dribble.

"Sometimes he has to be more direct. When he has added that to his game he is going to be a cracking talent."

By Luke Edwards

The Journal


232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.