McClaren – Lots Of Positives And Lots To Work On

Steve McClaren was pleased with the performance of the lads yesterday but he knows there is still a lot of work to do – especially on defense – but when you consider that Coloccini hadn’t played since last May and he had never played with new boy Chancel Mbemba – the team did very well to get a 2-2 draw against a good Southampton side.

steve mcclaren home to saints

Steve McClaren – we have a lot to work do

After the game yesterday this is what Steve McClaren had to say on nufcTV talking to Dan King, the Newcastle United Digital Editor:

“Yeah, I think you know two good teams. Southampton we know – we didn’t know beforehand and we’ve come away knowing yeah, there’s some very, very positive things and we need to build on that.”

“There’s probably another 30%-40% we can improve on once we’ve got the fitness levels up and players who haven’t played minutes start playing.”

“You know it was their only shot in the first-half, and I thought we were unlucky because we had chances before that, opportunities, maybe a penalty – and then we went a goal down, but we didn’t go flat.”

“I think that was the key thing. It didn’t affect us, we kept going forward and deserved the equalizer and then the second goal was just fantastic.”

“We kind of said play what you see and when you’ve got intelligent players you can do that so it was good work from a corner and excellent finish so we are pleased about that.”

“We felt we needed a bit of pace and a bit of width on that side and Gabby can provide us that – he showed us in pre-season – he did well and the sign was they took their right back off,  so that was good and they put another defender on.”

“But it was a great goal and one of them where he’s so quick and so strong that’s what we wanted him to do – run that way once the ball was played – but what a cross and what a finish.”

“Both Southampton goals came from headers and that’s disappointing when we didn’t stop the crosses, not dealing with them – but Pelle’s very good at that.”

“The second goal was disappointing and that’s something – that and the set-plays we have a lot to work on, but there were a lot of positives.

In fact in the first half Tim Krul did make two good saves from shots that were on target.

But it was also true their goal came out of the blue after 25 minutes when Newcastle had been the better side early in the game, and we should have been ahead by then.

But this team hasn’t played together much, and as Steve says we have to do better defending from both crosses and set plays in general and that’s what they will be doing this week in training.

We are at Swansea on Saturday, so it doesn’t get any easier, and Steve said he thought the south Wales side should have beaten Chelsea on Saturday.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had been sent off just after half time after giving away a penalty – and that  changed the game.

We’ll do well to take something out of the game on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium.

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What do you think?

Comments welcome.

30 comments so far

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #1

    I’d just finished this as the next thread went up so re-post.

    For my two pennorth

    I reckon Krull should have saved both of their goals, he was completely flat-footed for the second one. I thought we now had a top GK coach in place of Woodman!!

    I thought Haidara had a good game considering he was expected to be doubling up as a left winger.

    And I never ever want to hear again the excuse by Mr McClaren that the lads were tired after 75 minutes!!

    Shouldn’t even be on the pitch if they aren’t in a fit enough condition to last the whole match plus any extra time.

    Apart from the fact it sounds pathetic, if I was an opposing manager I’d be thinking oh good we’ll wait till they are worn out, poor things.

    By the way whilst I was watching some MLS game it was mentioned that Spurs played an All Star select eleven pre season. We were playing reserve teams, even more pathetic, no wonder our lot aren’t ‘Match-Fit’

  • jazzyp

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #2

    I think we are only 3-4 players from an excellent side now.
    The bench has never looked so strong, Football was actually pleasing to the eye. the new signings can only get stronger. So positives to look forward to rather than the doom and gloom all the time

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #3

    Oh and sorry.

    “Unfit players out”

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #4

    177Ian Toon // Aug 10, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    Expatmag- So much for you keeping a low profile after shouting the odds on an Aussie victory in the Ashes. Social media are having a field day – I particularly liked the picture of Rolf Harris and the caption ” One Aussie who won’t be out before lunch”.
    Oh happy days.

  • Our Toon

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #5


    You never played in goal have you? No keeper would have saved them 2 efforts. The modern day fullback doubles up all the time this isn’t the 80s or the 90s, Haidara though should have done his homework and showed tadic onto his right foot rather than his stronger left foot. Piss poor performance by him. Agree with you regarding our choice of opponents for friendlies, shocking

  • Our Toon

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #6

    As for players being unfit, they weren’t up to match speed, think every manager has said that so McClaren is no different. Every pundit has said it take at least 5 or 6 games before you reach optimum level of fitness, Southampton have played 4 or 5 competitive games already. They are miles ahead of us and yes we looked tired nothing wrong with admitting what everyone could see

  • Jib

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #7
  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #8

    You see all players and managers for the full 90 when you’re at the game. You can see close up highlights at half time and on MOTD to make your mind up about things you don’t get a good view of, like handball claims, offsides etc.

  • DaraghL

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #9

    Wow blaming Krul for the goals…that is eh something.

    I was very pleased with the performance. A good game for the neutrals which could have gone either way. Did well to get a point and hopefully we can build on that.

    Some areas require work but McClaren has noted that. I will be interested to see what role SDJ will play this season. Reminds me somewhat of Nolan, good player but where do you play him? Sacrifice a midfielder or a striker?

    Obertan deserves credit for his performance as do the midfield trio.

  • martoon

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #10

    Essex I think the USA trip buggered up our fitness. Pretty sure we won’t be going next year 😉

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #11

    You have called me a liar. I wasn’t at the match and I copied your aussie commentators, according to you. I will leave it at that.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #12

    Our Toon
    Sorry but I disagree, I have watched the goals several times and I feel that he started reacting way to slowly especially for the second one.

    No I have never played as a GK so perhaps I am being a bit picky, still think he should have got more on the ball though.

    He would have stopped them in the Spurs match. 🙂

  • the broons

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #13

    nice to see that hes admitting up to these short comings and is going to address them. Yeah dissapointing to concede the goals but i’ve seen worse defensive performances from newcastle before.

    Lets remember this was against a southampton team that have been on fire in pre season so i think a draw first game back is certainly not the end of the world, providing we build on this.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #14

    164Ian Toon // Aug 10, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    I thought we played well for the first 65 minutes then tired badly and started giving the ball away too much. Despite the inability to defend crosses into the box we played some attractive pass/ move football at pace which was a marked improvement on much of last season.
    Mbeba and Wijnaldium looked quality signings, although Wij noticeably tired in the second half. Colback was full of energy and with the full backs getting forward a lot both he and Anita covered Saint attacks when our moves broke down. We looked well organised and the link play was good. Colback linked very well with Sissoko and Wiji who were effective as a mobile unit . Sissoko looked full of running interchanging into the middle at times whilst Obertan showed that he should not be written off by the usual suspects, just yet- his centre for the Wiji goal was superbly executed and of the highest technique. The wide play was a marked improvement on last season. It was also good to see such a strong bench for a change.
    Haidara got forward well but his defensive work at this level just isn’t good enough. A combination of him and Dummet would be ideal. We need a left back and another CB – Colloquial will get better with an improvement in overall fitness but he was not as dominate as Mb and he allowed the two CB ‘s to be split for the first Saints goal. Colo clearly short of match fitness will get better hopefully but we need defenders as we show an inability to defend.
    As the team tired we then started hitting long balls forward. Or was it just because Mitrovic had been introduced. We had certainly played at a faster pace than for most of last season. But noticeably we started hitting longer balls rather than pass our way forward.

  • Jib

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #15

    Next summer we’ll be playing Euro qualifiers 8:)

  • Jib

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #16

    😎 doh

  • SELondonFan

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #17

    Just got back from the game yesterday, stayed overnight.

    Apart from keeping the ball marginally better.
    It was still a pretty pathetic performance.
    Cisse was woeful.
    Haidara was even worse.

    Wijnaldum & Mbemba look big signings.
    But the same old problems were still there.

    TOOTHLESS in the final 3rd, SO SLOW at times.
    Nobody creative apart from Wijnaldum.
    Coloccini was his usual poor self.

    I’ve no doubt it will get better, but not sure why people are saying there was a huge improvement.

  • jazzyp

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #18


    McLaren admitted as much that the tour was a distraction to the pre season plans.The last 15 mins we just died and were clinging on towards the end.
    Wini was dead on his feet as was Collo.
    But it is a performance we can build on and use as a catalyst for the season

  • jazzyp

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #19

    London fan

    I agree on Cisse and Haidara. The first half especially noticed a lot of mistakes as he was over our side of the pitch

  • JackButler

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #20

    Let’s hope that meeting was about freeing more money to invest, as although we have made great strides already, there are still some massive holes that need to be plugged

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #21

    If we hadn’t have had Colback running his *rse off in the last twenty minutes we’d have been swarmed (can I use that word) off the pitch by them. Lucky to get away with a draw.

  • JackButler

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #22

    Tancredi Palmeri @tancredipalmeri
    Newcastle have bid 19m€ for Inter’s Shaqiri, who anyway has reached an agreement on personal terms with Stoke, that offered 17m€
    9:08 AM – 10 Aug 2015
    159 159 Retweets 50 50 favorites

  • voodoo85

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #23

    From previous article, would like to see Cisse kept at the club. Still our most proven and prolific striker at the club.

    If it was Austin that we got then i can understand Cisse going more but if its a new striker from a foreign league, i wouldn’t want Perez as the only striker with at least some premier league experience

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #24

    Krul needs to command his area. He’s a big lad and should be punching and catching crosses far more than he does. He prefers to stay on his line.

  • Noel Worst

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #25


    Maybe it’s you.

  • croftus5678

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #26

    imo i liked the team and the performance of pretty much everyone apart from colo who clearly was not upto the pace of the prem but saying that we all knew that and was saying it all window.

    i’ll single obertan out as he was pretty good tbh ! i give him tons of stick always calling him useless and we need to sell him ect but he proved he can be a very good player ! maybe macca can get the best out of him even though we said it several times in the past.

    after the first game i’m more hopefull than i was before we played tbh.

    2-3 more players esp a cb and we could shoot up the league.

  • Tsunki

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #27

    Ian Toon – I don’t know what you’re disagreeing with but I know that it wasn’t my point 🙂

    I’m talking about the perspective of match attendance versus tv watching from a critical point of view. I conceded that the live experience is the one that puts you in the heart of the atmosphere, what I am saying that while you may see detail that cameras don’t pick up at the match, the screen viewer can pause, replay and benefit from expert analysis. Conversely I have spent many games not appreciating what exactly is happening at the other end of the pitch, being distracted by off field antics etc.

    In the end, we can all, attending or not, conclude virtually the same things about players, given time.


    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #28

    Unless u have some super power vision u dont see everything when ur at the match, u cant focus on 22 players and the dug out…plus McClaren and Cathro who were in the stands. U get a wider view of off the ball instances granted…a player like Colback will benefit from people in the stands because most of his work is done off the ball

    Fact is for me placing urself above another fan because u were at the match comes across as arrogant. As far as I am concerned ur opinion is no more valid than anyone who watched it on TV

  • JackButler

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #29

    The problem with Obertan is that he’s right footed and plays on the left where he always cuts back inside, thus making him easier to defend against and his final pass is more often than not poor, yes he gives 100% but if we are to move forward its players like this we need to upgrade – hopefully Aarons will soon displace him or another, better option is brought in

  • croftus5678

    Aug 10, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #30

    @24 blackley

    i agree krul’s kicking and his coming for crosses ect are his weak points to the point i was really really impressed with woodman when he played and showed how weak krul was at those points !

    its even more noticable when our cb’s and others defending set pieces for us cant seem to win many balls but is it a worthy trade for his shot stopping skills or would we be better with darlow/elliott ect who are better but not as good as krul’s shot stopping ?


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