Analysis

Marcos Alonso on preparing well and improving in the second half against Newcastle

It was a hard-fought win that secured the Premier League points for Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, with Marcos Alonso’s goal proving decisive in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United.

The Spaniard struck in the 73rd minute to secure a fifth consecutive win for Frank Lampard’s Blues, although the victory owed much to persistence and patience from those within the ranks. After the game, match-winner Alonso reflected on a tough afternoon’s work.

‘Newcastle played very compact and it’s not easy to find spaces to attack or create chances but I think we played well in the second half. We were so intense and finally got the goal and the three points,' said the defender.

‘We believed because we knew the game would be like this - we were prepared for this and in the first half maybe we were lacking a bit of patience in the final third but in the end we were happy with the three points and the goals. It was a massive win after the international break.’

Lampard made just one change from our comprehensive win at Southampton, swapping Ross Barkley for the injured N’Golo Kante, though Barkley’s withdrawal with an apparent ankle knock will have been cause for concern. Nevertheless, Alonso was optimistic about the options open to the boss.

‘It’s good to have many options,’ he said. ’It obviously depends on getting the right result and we take it game by game but I felt we moved the ball quicker, we pressed when we lost the ball, we tried to keep the team steady on the pitch and defend against counter-attacks. We are doing a good job and we have clear ideas about what we want to do.’

Alonso expected Newcastle’s resistance and felt the home side’s patience finally paid off in the second half.

‘They played in a very compact style so it’s not easy to find space to attack and create chances,’ he explained. ‘In the second half, we did very well and were intense in our play. That makes it hard for them to hold for 90 minutes so we were able to get the goal and the three points.

‘We were prepared for them to play like that. Maybe in the first half, we were lacking a bit of patience and finesse in the final third but we always had belief that the goal would come.

‘We have many options in the team and this is good. The team is getting better, we are improving game by game and we need to continue in this way. We are moving the ball quickly, our press is good and we are doing a good job as a team. We have clear ideas and we have to continue in this way.’

Alonso felt the three Premier League points were particularly important coming in the first game back from an international break and he emphasised that hard work was paying off with results as we secured a fifth consecutive win in all competitions.

‘It was very important to win after the international break,’ he admitted. ‘We played with a lot of patience and at the end we got the goal, we kept grafting and got a good reward

‘It’s a new season with new staff and there’s room for improvement but since the beginning we have improved a lot. We need to keep focused on each game and work hard in training.’

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