The Newcastle win won’t be the last time Jefferson Montero is targeted physically, argues Fraser Watson.
It was a basic plan, but one which backfired badly on Newcastle.
After the widespread praise of his nigh on demolition of Branislav Ivanovic last week, it was always unlikely that Swansea winger Jefferson Montero was going to play against the Geordies on Saturday without receiving some sort of special attention.
Was Steve McClaren going to order two players to double up on the flying Ecuadorian? Would he be man marked? Would Daryl Janmaat look to shepherd him inside?
Instead, the visitors opted for something more old fashioned. Kick him off the park.
And I fear that given Montero’s slight 5 ft 7 inches frame that accompanies his searing pace, there will be plenty more where that came from.
Janmaat’s methods yesterday proved as costly as they were unsubtle. He twice scythed Montero down in the opening minutes, the second of which prompted Mike Dean to show him a yellow card.
The latter foul saw the Dutchman needlessly pile into the back of the former Moreila man a good 70 metres from his own goal. It appeared a pointless foul – but the intention to shake up Swansea’s new star was obvious.
Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba was also lucky to escape sanctions when he piled in two footed on the same player, seemingly saved by his clean contact with the ball.
But Janmaat’s mission continued, fouling Montero again, before being lucky to escape when the winger opted to stay on his feet after the full back clipped his heels with another rash sliding challenge.
However, before half time came the inevitable, as Janmaat saw a second yellow card, and subsequent red, for pulling back the Ecuadorian in full view of Dean.
So a Newcastle’s ploy, one criticised by Swansea boss Garry Monk in his post match press conference, ironically contributed to their own downfall.
But it is a ploy Montero will have to get used to.
To his credit on Saturday, he showed his willingness to ride the rough stuff, and continued to excel with a mazy run and shot against the post, before creating André Ayew’s goal after the break.
He was withdrawn again before the end, no doubt an effort from Monk to provide the winger with some rest, as opposed to a tactical alteration.
And Monk will know, that it will not be the first time the 25-year-old needs to be handled with care. His much publicised pace and trickery will make him an obvious target, especially in the winter months, for experienced defenders all too ready to test his physical and mental resolve. And they won’t all be as rash and unsubtle as Janmaat.
There is much talk in the modern era of referees over protecting players, and of physical contact being kept to a minimum with fouls awarded all too easily.
Such protection, may be just what Montero needs.