Alan Shearer questioned last night on BBC Match of the Day whether Steve McClaren had a game plan for yesterday’s game at Selhurst Park and how they were going to stop their two top wingers Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha.
And Steve McClaren in his interviews after the game yesterday said there was also a reaction from the Newcastle players after the embarrassment against Leicester City – and you may have missed it – but it was in the first 15 minutes – according to the Newcastle manager.
Jack Colback challenges Wilfried Zaha
And Jack Colback has come out today and said that in fact Newcastle did have a game plan and it worked perfectly for 15-20 minutes – but it probably worked for maybe only 13 minutes.
Newcastle went ahead with a well-worked goal after 10 minutes from Cisse that was brilliantly set up by Daryl Janmaat and things were looking up.
But then Crystal Palace scored after 14 minutes and three minutes later we let in a comical goal as a number of Newcastle defenders should have easily cleared the ball when it came across the box – but didn’t.
So after 17 minutes we were 2-1 down.
So maybe we can say the game plan worked for 13 minutes – while we were ahead?
After that we collapsed again and ended up losing 5-1 and Palace looked like world-beaters – well at least compared to another abject Newcastle performance.
We just cannot seem to stop the goals going in – that’s out biggest problem so we need a top center-back and a top left back drafted in during the January transfer window.
If we can steady things up at the back we could have something to build on.
This is what Jack Colback had to say on Sky Sports:
“We had a game plan and in the first 15-20 minutes it worked perfectly. We got the goal and you could see they were rattled.”
“But we let them straight back in, then I made a mistake for the second goal and that put us on the back foot again. After that it was pretty embarrassing, really.”
“Maybe we’re not strong enough character-wise. It seems as if as soon as things go bad, it goes really bad.”
“We had that last year and probably the year before as well. It’s something that’s hanging over the team that we need to get rid of.”
“We had shown signs of improvement but the Leicester game and this one have really set us back quite a lot.”
Jack was dispossessed for their second goal and we were exposed at the back, and yes it was a bad mistake – but it’s good that Jack owns up to it – probably rustiness with being out since the Sunderland game.
Kevin Nolan – very good captain and leader
What’s lacking with the team is character – character as a team and also individual characters – and we don’t have enough leaders in the side.
For an example of a very good captain and leader think of former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan – shown above urging on his team-mates.
Leaders are the ones who get busy and go after other players to smarten up and sharpen up when things go wrong.
You cannot accuse many of our players in the last two games of getting busy and trying to rectify the situation once we went behind and easily lost both games.
It has to change very quickly because otherwise we will be in serious danger of relegation come May.