McClaren Wants Players To Be Responsible – Become Leaders

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 portland Newcastle+United+v+Portland+XcWeK5g3Jz4l

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.

Here´s hoping.

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Comments welcome.

8 comments so far

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #1

    Ron…that’s probably what will happen if we do spend!

  • Ron Knee

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #2

    I dread to think where we’ll be at in January!

  • cyprus

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:24 AM

    Comment #3

    Yes, maybe Colo would look good in a good team… remember we have also periodically dismissed Sissoko, Colback, HBA, Krul, Tiote, Mitro and the list goes on and on.

    The above, including Colo, are good players. To check these things out, ask other teams’ fans.

    What we lack, maybe, is a team spirit, 1 or 2 leaders and tactical wisdom. We should play to the strengths of what we have, while ‘hiding’ the weaknesses.

    On team spirit, I like the huddle teams do. It’s not quite the menace of the haka, but the opposition does look on, concerned. Love it when teams score and players jump all over each other. e.g. vs Norwich, one or two players reluctantly jogged to the scorer…

  • cyprus

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    Comment #4

    Much rather a huddle, even at the end, than that Black dude walking like a peacock on the pitch 🙂

  • cyprus

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Comment #5


    This Colo guy can turn as fast as an aircraft carrier, or whatever, ok. But these carriers aren’t used for turning, they have other functions. A paddle boat turns faster, but is definitely less valuable.

    These CBs, your Terries, Ferdinands, etc. are pretty slow turners in general. For instance, the two internationals I mentioned have been horribly exposed themselves, a bunch of times, when played ‘wrongly’ or caught in the wrong place, such as having to chase a superfast forward.

    Not defending Colo, being the captain and the leader of the back 4, he must shoulder MOST of the blame for our annual defensive shambles. But, the fault lies in, maybe, all those back positions, and may include other team members as well.

  • cyprus

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #6

    And, above all, our defensive coach. Who is he?

    So I can start my hate campaign 🙂 Tough if I don’t know who he is.

  • Munster Mag

    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #7

    Cyprus colo is no longer a good player. Too slow. Not brave enough. Wud be a good sweeper though. Been saying it for years

  • nufc 11

    Oct 29, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #8

    Leaders is one thing. The back 4 needs addressing its a shambles I hate to say it because I think he is a cracking player going forward but Janmatt is not a defender and Sissoko is not a winger time and time again goals are lost from that side. Now that Colback is injured the time is right to move moussa into the centre and move Janmatt RM and then bring Kevin Mbabu into the team the young has thge making of a top player and will bring better balance to the right side of the backline only need to get Colo out then and were sorted.


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