“We know for a fact the performances need to improve,” said Harper
“When you go away from home, you need to earn the right to play, and we gave the ball away in bad areas and brought a lot of pressure on ourselves.
“We were maybe a little fortunate to come away with a point.
“We lost Steven Taylor (to injury). We knew they’d put the ball in the box a lot. We were well aware of what they were like tactically.
“That was probably the most I’ve every had to do crosses-wise – it was the most crosses I’ve had in 20 years!
“But we knew what they would do, and it was just disappointing to concede two goals in such a short period of time, especially given the fantastic equaliser we got straight after that.
“It could end up being a good point.
“We’ve got two huge games, and he expects to see a response against a Bordeaux team which got a fantastic result in the Europa League.
“And Manchester United at St James’s Park needs no build-up whatsoever.
“They’re two big games. Obviously, the manager’s made it very, very clear the it needs to improve, and very quickly.
“It was a good point (against Reading), but the manager wasn’t happy with the performance in no uncertain terms.
“The home European nights, when you get quality European opposition coming like Bordeaux, are special.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a good crowd in, and they can encourage the lads to put on a good display. The gaffer wants us to come out of the traps quickly.
“I think Thursday’s game comes at a good time for us to put this performance behind us.
“If we can put in a good performance, we can carry that momentum into a very tough game against Manchester United.
“European nights at St James’s Park are pretty special, and we need to put a good performance in ahead of Sunday.
“I don’t know what the manager’s plans are. He could play Rob Eliott.
“Rob’s yet to have a game (at home), and he’s done well in the two games he’s played.”