Since Moussa Sissoko signed for us almost three years ago from Toulouse he has played around 97 times for Newcastle and scored 11 goals with 13 assists.
Last season he had two assists in 34 league games and in the last two seasons he’s had 8 assists in 76 games in all competitions.
But with 3 assists against Norwich – the first time that has been done in 25 years at Newcastle – Moussa already has 4 assists in the 10 games he´s played this season in all competitions – and that´s a huge improvement.
Moussa Sissoko – has 4 assists
There´s a good piece in the Chronicle today that quotes Bill Beswick, the former Middlesbrough motivational coach from his new book One Goal – and in it he talks about how McClaren tries to get the best out of his players.
In the book Beswick talks about spending time with Steve at FC Twente:
“On one of our regular phone calls during which we discussed the mental and emotional state of the FC Twente team, former head coach Steve McClaren said: ‘This team is not as good as I want it to be. But it is going to be as good as the players want it to be!’”
“Steve understood that leadership emerges from the habit of taking responsibility.” “Certain players will emerge who are capable not only of taking care of their own individual responsibilities, but also of helping the team with their collective responsibility, taking the lead and therefore making the difference.”
That´s a good example of inviting players to be leaders at the club and it´s one of the things we have been lacking this year – and our terrible results – 4 wins in 29 league games – is some proof of that.
Responsibility is the other side of the coin to leadership and you cannot have one without the other – when things are going bad in a game for example leaders don´t disappear – they take responsibility and try to do something about it.
The stats seem to show that McClaren is starting to get the best out of Moussa Sissoko and certainly in the last two games he has looked a good player after an ordinary start to the season.
Four assists in 9 league games is an excellent return so far from the Frenchman compared to his previous two seasons.
And at Newcastle the motivational guru we have is Steve Black and we´ll just have to see if Steve can build up the mental strength of our players, which at times this season has looked poor and we have been too fragile as a team.
Newcastle have played well in patches but not good enough for long enough in games to get a good return in terms of results
That´s one reason we have just 6 points from our first 10 league games and are second bottom of the league table.
We have a great chance of getting a second win of the season against Stoke on Sunday, but it will take all our players to turn up and play well for the full 90 minutes.
If we are to start climbing the league table and getting out of the relegation quagmire that has to start pretty soon.
A win on Saturday will help relieve the pressure on the players and coaches at Newcastle – not to mention the fans.