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Anita's been an unsung hero of Toon's great turnaround.

Byline: Olivier BERNARD

IT'S not just Newcastle United's defence who deserve credit for their improved solidity and upturn in form, it's the entire team.

They have been defending as a disciplined block and both the players and coaching staff deserve credit for that.

The unit of XI players working together behind the ball against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool has been brilliant to watch after a few matches in which that cohesion and understanding was missing.

When you haven't got any out-andout holding-midfielders you need the entire team to protect the United back four and do some hard yards.

Newcastle's form is built on a team effort, not just individual performances - though the quality of some of their players have helped them claim victories rather than draws.

Jack Colback, but more particularly Vurnon Anita, deserve plaudits for their displays because they work tirelessly in the middle and have laid the foundations for these two wins.

They have been essential to this minirevival.

We all know what Colback can do and what his qualities are both with and without the ball - and he has delivered those in recent games.

Yet sometimes I don't think Anita gets the recognition he deserve for what he offers to the side.

In fact, I'd say he's the unsung hero of the side.

He is not somebody who is spoken about a lot but he is a very, very dedicated player who will put himself about to win the ball back all the time. Anita does the dirty work without anybody really mentioning it.

You need people like that in your side to allow the flair players to flourish and get on with their game.

I also think United's full-backs have played more of a secure game to make sure they don't attack too frequently and leave their defence exposed.

Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett have protected Newcastle defensively in the last couple of games and not allowed themselves to get caught out of position.

Earlier in the season, Janmaat was getting forward at every opportunity but now he is picking and choosing more.

In all honesty, I could go around just about every single position and praise the players for what they have produced over the past fortnight.

Defending is so much easier when everyone is singing off the same hymnsheet - and that's exactly what United have done recently.

CAPTION(S):

Jack Colback, left and Vurnon Anita, right above

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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2015
Words:403
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