Newcastle Were Excellent For Those First 75 Minutes

It was difficult to know what to expect today from a Newcastle side that hadn’t played together before today.

Steve McClaren made a brave decision before the game to start both Coloccini and Mbemba in the heart of the defense, and it paid off,  and the two showed they could form a very good partnership – once they have played a few more games together.

Chancel Mbemba looked excellent on his debut. and so did the sublime Gini Wijnaldum.

steve mcclaren home to saints

Steve McClaren on the touchline today

Both players did really well, given that had very little play in pre-season – Colo had none – and Mbemba played about 30 minutes last Saturday against Borussia Monchengladbach.

But we looked weak against high centers coming in – which is how Southampton got both their goals.

But it’s also the job of the full-backs (and others) to stop those crosses coming in and both were from the right win – so that’s an area the side can improve on.

This is what Steve McClaren said after the game:

“I didn’t quite know what to expect because it’s been a short pre-season,” “The only really decent game was Borussia Monchengladbach last week, and even that was a nice, gentle pace.

“Southampton looked like they’d played more competitive games than us, which they have because of the Europa League, but while I didn’t really know what to expect from us, I’m absolutely delighted with what I saw.

“For 75 minutes, the team were excellent. We didn’t play smart after that, but fatigue played a part. The game had everything.”   “Jack Colback made a great block to get us the point.”

“Have we learned anything? We’ve learned so much. Can we get better? Most definitely.” “Once we get up to our fitness levels as the weeks go on, this is certainly something to build on.” “Not just the team – the squad as well.”

“I don’t like conceding goals like that.” “Pelle was always a danger, and it was a terrific header from him, but we didn’t do enough to stop the cross or mark in the box to put him off.”

“The second goal was probably even more disappointing than the first. It’s given us something to work on, but then we always thought there would be.”

We were surprised Newcastle were so good, but some of the lads did tire towards the end of the game,  and if any side was going to win it late – it was Southampton.

But this was so much better than the tripe served up last season by John Carver and company – this was a different class completely.

And as we suspected Steve McClaren will be able to get the best out of a number of Newcastle’s players – like Coloccini and Vurnon Anita to name two.

Cheick Tiote could also have a good season under Steve McClaren,  who knows him well from their two seasons together at FC Twente.

And after Vurnon Anita was stretchered off in the second half and replaced by Cheick, Steve McClaren had good news on the Dutchman:

“Vurnon is OK and he’s walking around normally. We will assess it this week.”

Southampton should do well again this season, although they do have the Europa League and with all the game they will have to play that could be difficult for them.

Steve McClaren is said to have had a long meeting with owner Mike Ashley before the game – so hopefully we will now have the three players lined up to sign before September 1st.


All we needed today to make it perfect was a win,  but we just couldn’t hold out – but those 90 minutes will help a lot of our players, and we will be a lot more match fit at Swansea next Saturday.That’s another tough game for us, but we did manage a 2-2 draw there last season.

Comments welcome.

179 comments so far

  • anthc

    Aug 9, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #1

    Tiote needs to trim down and get fit. He was blowing out his backside after 10 mins. Appreciate he’s allegedly been injured since January but he’s nowhere near fit enough for first team. I personally think he will be away along with cisse who showed a drastic improvement today. Amazing what a bit competition for places can do.

  • the white tino

    Aug 9, 2015 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #2

    I think I got the mean (average) pretty much spot on with my prediction, let’s hope we right

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:00 PM

    Comment #3

    Well Ed, I gave you time to get all your articles out of the way before posting Blackley’s observations from Bar 1892. I should’ve known better.

    Forgot to mention Obertan. Decent performance.

    What does De Jong do? Reminds me too much of his brother. Little, if any, impact. How much longer before he shows us? I’m growing impatient.


    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #5

    Ed I dont know what game you and Mr. McLaren were watching but it was not the same one as me. Defensively we were terrible , Coloccini was so slow I could have beat him and I am just under 70. How the manager can say we were excellent for 75 minutes is beyond me, one great goal and one fluke from a deflection coupled with two terrible defensive goals by the opposition cant be classed as good. To say we tired late in the match is appalling from a manager, it is the first game of the season and they should not talking about getting there fitness up to the required standard that should be there now and to talk about tiring is a very lame excuse for not being prepared correctly for the kick off. Another long hard season unless we make another two or three good signings

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #6

    I didn’t think Cisse had one of his better games overall but he came up with the goods. If you think he looked better, I suspect it’s more to do with the fact he’s now injury free.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #7

    We can’t afford to go through the season with Colo. He is a liability. He’s so slow and weak. It worries me that Makro is backing him so much. Major error of managerial judgment IMO.

  • AndyMac

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    Comment #8

    “Once we get up to our fitness levels as the weeks go on, this is certainly something to build on.”

    Soz but isnt that what you’re supposed to do with your staff before the season starts ? Southampton lasted the 90 !

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #9

    It set alarm bells ringing for me when I heard the lads were training with the ball throughout pre-season. They need to do plenty of running – enough that they’re ready to vomit. Or else you start to flag in the last 20 minutes. We were hanging on in the end.

  • cestriasteve

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #10

    For what it’s worth he is my feedback on the game:

    Left hand side in the first half dreadful Haidria first touch terrible.
    obertan woeful
    Widi and Sissoko very good first half, tired 2nd half.

    Game changed after Anita went off, don’t know why we lost our shape.

    Collo and Co. Can’t head the ball this season, again.

    Kruls distribution and command of the box poor.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #11

    Colback and Anita were not creative enough. Makro was going mad with Colback for not getting his head up and switching play. Anita hit too many stray balls.

    I said we need a dozen in and a dozen out. Last year’s faces, with the exception of Sissoko and Janmaat, didn’t look fresh enough. I’d rather have seen Perez come on rather than De Jong.

  • bobby mango

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    Comment #12

    To say we are excellent is an exaggeration. We looked pretty blunt in attack compared to Southampton, they always looked dangerous. We were saved by a couple of offsides and Mane could have scored a couple.

    I’m encouraged by mcclaren and his staff though. I don’t think their heads will drop like they did last season.
    Mcclaren has been critical of the preseason schedule and I believe they will continue to improve.

    That said we are short. The left side was vulnerable. Dummett may be better than Hairdryer defensively but I’d much rather see an experienced lb who can help with the organisation. A bit of pace to cover colo will be necessary.

    Annoyed Colo is staying but going on mcclaren’s reasoning on keeping him we have to have faith in that. I think his experience can help Mbemba and they could be a decent pairing.

  • toon kk

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:25 PM

    Comment #13

    I’m a lot more optimistic than I was about this season, but the last 20mins reminded me of what we often revert to.
    Not sure what to expect from Mit yet, a bull in a China shop comes to mind, along with a few red cards

  • Klatoon

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #14

    thought it would take some time but SM has already changed the team dynamic. Very few long balls today, CB’s going out wide to receive from krul and also Anita dropping between them to receive it shows how integral he will be this season. If only we had more threat down the LW (Aarons/perez). Tiote was shocking to be honest, not just fitness wise but also how easily and often he was caught in possesion.

  • LGFUAD21

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    Comment #15

    Some people need to lighten up.

    Today we were much inproved over last season. Southampton would’ve dominates the team of last season.

    The ball work has made us more patient, smarter and comfortable on the ball.

    We created more chances than we did in the average game last season.

    Anyone that thinks training means running players around until they puke is a dinosaur that needs to go back the the 70s.

    Pardew used to do fitness intense training and we ended up with a team with no clue how to play the game, create, unlock defences or manage a game. It’s thinking like that which has the England team such a shambles. Run, run, run. Doesn’t matter what you do with the ball as long as you are running.

    Match fitness will come. Teams that are 100% there by day 1 often burn out and fall away. Even Mourinho said you want your team to build up so they hit top gear just before Christmas.

    Some righty miserable sods on here. Do t know why they bother supporting the team because it will never match their expectations.

    What did Colo do so bad that Mbemba didn’t.

    For the first goal Colo was well positioned. It was Mbemba who should’ve picked up Pelle.

  • Klatoon

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    Comment #16

    Everyone getting on Haidaras back needs to reflect on sotons new RB Cedric Soares.And hes supposed to be decent too!

  • LGFUAD21

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #17

    Colo is staying because he is the best defender we had.

    He would’ve gotten in the soton team today ahead of Yoshida.

    I hate seeing dummet at left back. He gets caught up field. has a cross on a par with haidaras.

    He has this tendency to turn in on himself, get trapped and hoof it b

  • Take a Chancel on me

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #18

    I agree with everything you just said

  • Take a Chancel on me

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    Comment #19

    Klatoon You are right if Soares hadn’t be substituted he’d have been sent off

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Comment #20

    So taking stock after 1 match.
    Players like Krul and cisse have raised their game which is encouraging.
    Mbemba and Wijnaldum look quality improvements.
    Colo is either short of match fitness or finished. We still need another centre back.
    Haidara is still better going forward than back, we need a better left back.
    Anita looks an improved player.
    Tiote looks well short of match fitness. We need a better defensive midfielder who can pass.
    Sdj has no pace and we need a pacey Winger who can cross and take a free kick.
    We could do with another striker.

    Over to you schteve.

  • metaloverlord

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Comment #21

    I thought we played some of the best football I have seen us play in the last year and a half. No Williamson playing so no aimless lumping the ball towards the corner flag, Mbemba looks like a player, his pace will pull us out of the Timothy White so many times this season. Wijnaldum will be a major player for us when he fully gets up to speed with the Premier League. He wanted a second too long at times but he will learn. Good to see Cisse fit again, even if his 2nd touch is still a tackle he was in the right place at the right time again. Mitrovic looks strong as an ox, just needs to learn how to tackle. How anyone can criticise McClaren after one competitive match is beyond me, especially after the tripe we were served up for the last 5 months of last season.

  • toon kk

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Comment #22

    Alot of people pull Obertan down but tbh we all know he’s not world class and never will be, but he was an engine today, we need pace he provides it. When Pards went on that 6 win stretch Ober and Aarons were the key to getting us forward.


    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:36 PM

    Comment #23

    I have lived and breathed every breath of Newcastle United since 1984, probably more than most! One thing that really winds me up is our fans. Why are you as stupid to think that one season and three signings later we should be hammering Southampton? You are exactly what makes me a shamed to be a Geordie! If any of you deluded people fancy meeting up then let me know! I will drop my mobile number . You seriously need a reality check and a little wake up call.

  • Small World

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #24

    In addition to the comments posted so far, I’d like to add that it was good to see Sissoko play for both halves of the game and not put in another of his 45 minute peformances. If only he could pass he would be the absolutely top class player he thinks he is.

  • JackButler

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    Comment #25

    Some of the reactions on here are laughable, we have one game after a pathetically organised pre season and people are talking about “alarm bells going off” “this player is rubbish” etc etc etc

    We are a mid table side at best, if people think we are gonna rip up the league cause of a few million investment or a new manager you’re only fooling yourself.

    And compared to last season joke,today was a hell of a lot better in every area

  • Small World

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    Comment #26

    Also note to Steve Mac: As we’re going to keep Colo, go out and buy a real man mountain of a new centre half and move move the curly haired on into a defensive midfield role. I reckon he’d do a job.

  • MikkyD

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    Comment #27

    Haidara is a good back up but never a first choice defender because he can’t… we need to find a new left back as good as Enrique was.

  • Small World

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    Comment #28

    JackButler // Aug 9, 2015 at 8:54 PM


  • martoon

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:57 PM

    Comment #29


    Evening lads I quite enjoyed the match today – quite a good game and we showed potential for the season.

    Anyway to predictions – I got 98 predictions and I’ve taken the mean of the results (mode for top goal scorer)which gives us an average score of:-
    Final position in League: 10
    Final no. of points: 53
    League Cup round: 5 (quarter final)
    FA cup round: 5 (last 16)
    No of 1st team signings this season: 5
    No of 1st team leaving this season: 3
    Top goal scorer: Mitrovic
    No of goals for top scorer: 15

    A few optimists think we’ll win the league cup and/or FA cup. Mitrovic was the overwhelming choice for top goal scorer ranging from 10 to 28 goals! A handful went for Cisse and a couple for Perez and Wjinaldum. A couple of jokers went for Austin and Riviere 🙂

  • 9

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    Comment #30

    OK, boys: 2 unchallenged headers, 2-1 up and stop playing, this is in fact a useless result. If you can’t win your home matches (despite scoring 2 goals) you ain’t gonna win anything. Oh how I hated the last 20 minutes.
    We have all been calling for a commanding centre half for, approx, 3 years. Spend the cash and get him in.
    I’m so disappointed in my club’s result. HWTL

  • doofa the loofa

    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #31

    So just to clarify… are you after a bust up or you after getting laid please??

  • VanBasten

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #32

    @ GEORDIE69. Well said!

    I’m also getting fed up to hear all the negative comments. It seems like it is much easier to criticize than to praise someone. I watched the game and I thought that the team played well considering what they went through last season and this being the first game with many players still not 100% match fit. Also the new players need to settle. Also, we can’t forget that Southampton was the surprise team of last season and has proven that they are really a good team that can beat anyone on their best day.

    Stop focusing on the negative and try to see the positive. There were a lot of positive things to take from the game and yet not many can bring themselves to write about that. I wonder why? I personally think that the same people will always complain, no matter how well the team plays or how many wins they rack up. You can’t shake off bad habits overnight….

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #33

    Far from thinking we will rip up the league I am concerned as we have so many weaknesses in the side it lacks balance. We need
    Another centre back, left back, defensive midfielder who can act as a playmaker, a winger who can cross and take a free kick and a striker.

    Sdj’s lack of pace and Mitrovic’s make me think we need more.

    I always start off optimistic but the good points in the side ate offset by a lot of poor points. If southampton can build a side and Swansea so can we.

  • JackButler

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #34


    We didn’t stop playing at 2-1 up, when Anita left the field through injury Tiote came on and we sat deeper as we no longer had the link play.

    It will take weeks/months for SM to address the major issues that have taken root over the past three or four years

  • JackButler

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    Comment #35


    We are building a side, but there is no way we are gonna do it in one window. All the clubs we want to chase down have been investing for years season after season while we’ve limped from season to season spending the bare minimum.

    There are years of neglect to rectify and it will take years to do that

  • 9

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    Comment #36

    Hi Jack,
    I wasn’t at the game, listening to BBC commentary from my home 300 miles away. Their commentary has always seemed pretty fair to me. Pat Nevin said we fell back as soon as we put the new centre forward on, so that’s my take on it, plus the fact that the next 15-20 minutes of commentary were completely asbout Soton attcking. It sounded as though there was only one team in the last 15 minutes, whereas the commentary had been pretty supportive of our attempts up till then. Good luck to our new manager (coach?) but what a disappointment.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    Comment #37

    It took Southampton about 3 or 4 months to start to be able to play the way Pochettino wanted when he took over from Adkins we have had a poorly organised pre season that was sorted by Carver with players who have been coached terribly for 4 or 5 years it will take some time before we are perfect !

    The signs were encouraging we were dominating them for large portions of the game and there was some slick passing moves with 1 touch passing

    There was also no long balls even when we went a goal down if that was Pardew in charge we would have been hoofing it to Cisse after about 10 minutes in

    Was just good to be entertained and see us having a go at home against a team that we are competing with tired of watching us just let teams come to St James’s with the points

    Swansea will be tough next week especially if Tiote has to play he was terrible !

  • overtheline

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    Comment #38

    Excellent stuff Martoon !

    We all know the problems with the defence and where their weakness lies. FBs covering and trying to cut out crosses might help but we do need jumpers. Dunno where they’re coming from as we ain’t gonna sign another CB

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    Comment #39


    Say the same for Chelsea and Arsenal. Dont speak $h&t coz u have to.

  • will die for the toon army

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #40


    Southampton has played 2 competitive games already. NUFC got exhausted towards the end of the game.

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