MARCOS Alonso had a day to forget against Fulham – but Owen Coyle has backed his young defender to learn from the experience.
After finishing the previous weekend’s game at Wolves with his first goal in English football, Damien Duff ensured there was no smile on the Spanish full-back’s face when he walked out of the Reebok on Saturday evening.
To make matters worse, Coyle revealed that the former Real Madrid starlet played the last half hour of the 3-0 defeat with an injured calf, but could not be replaced because all three substitutes had already been used.
“We couldn’t do anything about it,” Coyle said. “Young players are always going to make mistakes. Young Ryo (Miyaichi) was the same, and that’s why we brought Chris Eagles on at half time. But it’s a learning curve – and we know we have the nucleus of a young group.
“The important thing, like falling off your bike, is that you get back on it.
“You need to have the confidence and belief, as they have had in the previous three games, and they will do again.”
The final whistle was greeted with a chorus of jeers from the Wanderers fans, who were no doubt displeased with the level of performance against the Cottagers.
But Coyle has no issue with the criticism – hoping only that it will inspire a reaction from his team at Newcastle.
“The fans came in huge numbers again and I feel for them because they deserved a better display,” he said.
“I have got no qualms with the reaction at the end because we’re at home and it was a game we thought we could win.
“I have no problems with the reactions or the opinions. What we must have is the strength of character to deal with it.
“And we have dealt with it all season – we’re not standing here as if this is the first time it has happened to us.
“We need to bounce back, and quickly, but we have the players to do that.”