McClaren – Players Still 20% Short Of Being Fully Match Fit

One of the positive thing about the performance at Manchester United on Saturday was that we defended superbly for maybe the first time this season, and it was our first clean sheet and something to build on.

But Steve McClaren also knows that the players are still not as sharp as they need to be and he thinks we will see another additional 20% from the lads.

Steven Taylor Manchester+United+v+Newcastle+qMsnEN2M_dBl

Steven Taylor – had a very good game for Newcastle on Saturday

Steve McClaren talked about some of the players who played really well at the back for Newcastle on Saturday:

“I thought along with Steven Taylor, Coloccini was excellent. I also thought Chancel Mbemba was superb.” “He’s not a right-back, but he did a gallant job there.”

“That back four – five with Tim Krul behind – is going to be important for us.” “You don’t come to Old Trafford and get a result if you don’t defend well, and that’s what we did.”

“We conceded two goals against Southampton and two more against Swansea, albeit with ten men, so it was important to keep a clean sheet.”

“I thought we were excellent, and that performance is a real platform.” “You look at our players and think they’re still 20% or so down on where they’ll eventually be.”

“I look around our squad and think, ‘Well he could be sharper, and he could be sharper’.” “It was a short pre-season and an early start, and that’s what you’re going to get.”

The players are still not match fit, and we were surprised and pleased with the sterling way in which Steven Taylor went about the job – and he had an excellent game for us.

But McClaren’s also been clear about what it takes for Steven Taylor to become an important player for us this season – he needs to stay fit.

Over the last  six years Steven has had a number of serious and long term injuries, and on January 1st he ruptured his Achilles and was out for the rest of last season.

If Steven can keep playing near his best form – which he did on Saturday – he can again become a big player for the Magpies.

But we must keep him fit.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Northampton?

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165 comments so far

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #1

    5Ian Toon // Aug 24, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    I am not a fan of Ben Arfa but for those that are you’ll just love- Ian Hawkey’s article- ” Ben Arfa’s dazzling return puts him on road to redemption”.
    It’s in Total Football in today’s Daily Telegraph.

  • hibbit

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #2

    jib …was your vote against a defender in general or the tunisian in particular ?

  • Blofal

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #3

    Team for Northampton..

    Janmaat – Mbemba – Saylor – Haidara
    Thauvin——-De Jong——Aarons

    Bench: Krul, Perez, Mitrovic, Coloccini, Anita, Obertan, Winjaldum

  • Mag52

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #4

    Nut meg.(previous post)

    That blogger, whoever it was, who reckoned Pardew’s success with Palace is down to the previous manager Pulis, could maybe explain how Pulis’ team had gained, was it one or two points from the nine games prior to Pardew’s arrival and were third from bottom place in the premiership, and finished in the top half of the table under Pardew.

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #5


    Either way I know that tiote, de jong, aarons and Thauvin have to play. Both for fitness and for Mcclaren to assess them further as these are players that I feel we should be trying to get in the first team.

  • welshgeordie9

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #6

    I watched the full game last night of the match, mitrovic is going to be one pain in the arse for the opposition this season, lol, at last we have signed a quality centre back in mbemba, gini as always looked class as he was in pre season, then i watched thauvin closely and must admit there’s something about that player that tells me he could be the best out of the lot.

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #7


    Newcastle fans will always have an agenda against Pardew. The only thing I hated about his reign in particular was his inability to get players motivated for the derby.

    For what he achieved in the most modest of circumstances was quite good and he deserves the current success he’s currnetly gaining at Palace.

  • welshgeordie9

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #8

    As for the bench, i can’t remember last time we had strong bench like that and without sissoko.

    Wow springs to mind.

  • Jib

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #9

    I feel if SM’s coaching can instil the same improvement we’ve seen in Tayls and Colo , in Dummett Lascelles and other defenders , then we would be wasting money on an untried foreigner.
    Janmaat was the outstanding defender last season , he has stood still and the rest have caught him up.
    I don’t see the need for a defender at the moment and we’ve only got 15 PL games until the next window when we can review the situation.

  • welshgeordie9

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #10

    Like i said before, to get the players motivated for the derby, get mitrovic to do the team talk.

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #11


    Could! he has the most potential as has been taught about but I thought mitrovic was raw, Thauvin is on a whole new level.

    Don’t get me wrong I love his typpe of player, the ones who commit to take on the defender however he needs to learn to do it in the attacking third of the pitch and not in our own half.

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #12


    I do agree with Mitrovic though, I can’t help but love him already.

  • Novocastrian66

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #13

    Mag52: I think they were referring to the success Crystal Palace have from set pieces. Pardew has gone on record saying that their record from set pieces has nothing to do with him and it was down to the coaches, who were well established when he took over. Also Pardew did not take over from Pulis he took over from Warnock.

  • jimmysmith

    Aug 24, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #14

    I am also unashamedly already in love with Mitrovic.

  • calvinzolamakongo

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #15

    Be good to see what lascelles looks lik with collo next to him as i do think collo gets the best out of his partners am i right in think jamall only played with will and satka pre season ?

  • lesh

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #16


    Naughty naughty now or you’ll soon have competition for Mitro!

  • calvinzolamakongo

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #17

    Or even chancel as he looked very vocal in the soto game

  • OneAlanShearer

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #18

    I really hope we put Northampton to the sword quickly. A good win is what is needed. I think the side has to be a strong one to show they are serious about the cups. The media will have a field day if they don’t.

  • Mag52

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #19


    Yes he took over from Warnock, but the point made by that previous poster was that it was essentially Pulis’ team, he was not only referring to the set pieces, and in that he was correct. It was Pulis’ team in free fall.
    Pardew gave the credit to the coaches. Maybe, but it wasn’t working,was it, till he took over ?

  • Whumpie

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #20

    I’m not quite so enamoured with Mitro… yet. But I think he’s already showing signs of brilliance and if Maclaren can get the psych right, he’ll be great.

    Taylor (I still feel the urge to call him Saylor even though Raylor has gone) did brilliantly, but it’s not just his fitness that he needs to sort out – it’s his attitude. If he can replicate Saturday’s mindset all season, he’ll be great. But if he reverts to the twatting-around, “look at me, I’m such a lad” BS of the past 12 years, he’s no use to anyone.


    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #21

    im pretty sure ya right about lascelle only playing with satka and willo….and satka looked woeful but was pre-season….if macca can get lascelle playing and learning he could a beast coz he’s a big unit!

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #22


    He could quite easily become a toon legend. I know thats getting way ahead of myself but his potential ability mixed with his charisma, could easily become our new hero.

  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #23


    I think your worryingly endless love in with the dearly departed AP is more concerning than Toonbrother’s hatred fixation on Colo. It is you sir who needs to move on. Did you register we drew with Manu at OT by any chance?

  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #24


    You couldn’t have put it better re saylor.

  • calvinzolamakongo

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #25

    Yeh 6ft 4 tank whos got pace hopefully he continues ro develop remeber cbs take lomger to get into the game samllimg is onlh just starting to come good i mean ne a quality cb under 24 dont say stones coz i dont rate him lol

  • expatmag

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #26


    Maybe you should get your facts right about Pulis and Palace.

    Pulis left Palace a week before the season started having cited a lack of support by the board in procuring the players he required to take the club to the next step. One of those players was Zaha who eventually returned to the club when Pardew took over.

    It was Neil Warnock who took over from Pulis and got them into the mess they were in prior to Pardew taking over.

    Whilst Pardew did ok, he was substantially backed by the board in the January and this transfer markets and was in a much better position than Pulis was in when he took over the club 12 months earlier.

  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #27

    Mag 52

    it is quite extraordinary given the overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary (the record losing runs, record goals conceded, record fewest scored, not to mention the sh–e football played, favourites played regardless of form, players in wrong positions etc etc) that you still love AP. Takes all sorts I guess.

    Back when he managed Reading I used to enjoy his football but that was a long, long, time ago.

  • calvinzolamakongo

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #28


  • Sav

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #29

    How can any football fan not be a fan of Ben Arfa? Whether he is playing for us or not its got to be good if the lad can find himself again. You can only wish him the best as someone who reminds us why we love the game in the first place.

  • cyprus

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #30

    This is the type of player we need now.

    Maybe if we told him the dinosar’s gone

  • cyprus

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #31



    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #32

    maybe thats why they dont want to pay huge amounts for abdennour…if they can get him on the cheap some how then fair enough but if he’s goin to be to pricey they might stick with what they’ve got for the time bein and get that wolves striker or someone else in.. if the rumours are to be believed


    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #33

    he always was good to watch and looks like he still is but attitude was his downfall…but dont no exactly what happened with pardew so cant be to judgemental….good to see him playing and scoring good goals again..hope he knuckles down and plays instead wasting away

  • the broons

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #34


    Even though I do rate stones, heres just a few I can think of;

    De Vrij

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #35

    Lots of living in the past here this morning 😀

    Pardew left in Jan. Forget him. Hos success at Palace has no bearing on his tenure here. Palace suits him better, thats all.

    HBA failed here because of his attitude. No one is saying he isnt a good player when he is up for it, but you shouldnt have to continually suck him off just so that he produces it. It wasn’t the managers or coaches or the other players to blame. He had done it before, and there is as yet no garuntee that he wont do it again. If he has truely sorted his tw@tfullness out, then fair play and good luck, and we move on.

  • one fine day

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #36

    Hopefully next year we don’t spend two weeks playing pointless games in the USA then.
    On Pardue please lads he has gone ffs give it up.
    Just remember where we were after the first 6 games last year under the great one … On yet another abysmal run and just results either we were playing awful football .carver was offering fans outside at Southampton … It just goes on.
    Jesus ok we hung on at old Trafford but it was till a good point and we did actually have some good moments and had cisse had a better first touch or had thavin been one shoe size bigger we may well have being talking about a great three points.
    We are far from perfect yet but I have a real feeling we are moving the right way for once

  • Reyantoon

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #37

    Like many fans,I’m also satisfied by our performance against mu.I thought we will get spanked but surprisingly,very proud of the lads at the end.Every players perform superbly.I esp
    delighted by Mitrovic and Anita’s work rate and fighting display.Also cheered by glimpses of touches and skills of Thauvin.He’ll be our new ben arfa.Hopefully we’ll be consistent from now on and take that brilliant display to our next games.Howay the lads!!

  • one fine day

    Aug 24, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #38

    Sav @29
    Cyprus@ 30
    This is the guy we should be looking at for those who are struggling with the HBA withdrawals.
    Outrageous talent.
    Why he is not in one of the top leagues is beyond me
    Just watch and think of him in a black and white shirt

  • hibbit

    Aug 24, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #39

    i can think of 14 other teams in the prem who would be happy to hang on to a point at man u …..if your that keen on pardue go support palace otherwise he’s gone move on

  • one fine day

    Aug 24, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #40

    In that clip just watch the pass he makes with the outside of the boot at around 1.15 in
    If messi had made that it would be shown around the globe on a weekly basis for ever .
    Watched Abdul Rahman a fair bit in the Asian champs here last summer and he was streets ahead of everyone in a pretty average side

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