McClaren Tries To Make The Case That Newcastle Are Improving

Steve McClaren continues to try to put a positive face on what Newcastle are doing and certainly in the last 9 games we have taken 14 points – 4 wins and two draws – from those games and that’s a lot better than our previous eight games when we managed only three points – three draws.

So things are starting to look up, but we suffered a bit of a hiccup when we couldn’t beat Aston Villa at home on Saturday, with Villa coming into the game on 6 points from 16 games – 10 points behind Newcastle with 16 games played and only one win on the first day of the season.

steve mCclaren - siem de jong misses sitter

Steve McClaren on Saturday – Siem de Jong just missed a sitter

This is what Steve McClaren said after the 1-1 draw on Saturday night:

“We are not at that level (where we can control games) yet but that is the level you want to get to.”

“We have a certain strategy and game plan in each game and that does not necessarily mean controlling a game through possession.”

“Sometimes we are a better team when we are breaking, as we saw again against Villa.

“We are trying to get that balance between the two so we are growing, developing; we are not there yet but as long as we keep battling and picking up the points and always being competitive then we’ll be fine.”

“Every manager says they could be doing this and that in their interviews, in the last two weeks with Liverpool and Spurs and previous to that we were talking about eight games, 13 points.”

“We had two bad performances; I don’t know what happened in the international break but we were poor in the two games after that and before that, seven from four, after that we have collected seven from three.”

“So in the middle of that, I don’t know what happened.”

“But against Villa we stayed there for 95 minutes and we had a chance to win it at the end.” “Of course it is going to be nervy and that ebbs through from the whole stadium.”

“You can feel the tension in certain spells of the game but the one thing I did like was the way the players did overcome that.”

“We had a bad 10-15 minutes and overcame it and finished the game strong and that pleased me because I thought 10 games ago we would have lost that game.”

“We’ve got the points, the performances and the way the team is fighting, 10 to 12 games ago after conceding, you could tell there was nervousness.”

“But we came back from that which pleased me and we had chances to win the game at the end and it’s frustrating.”

“Everybody is beating everybody else and you should show no disrespect to anyone else, no matter how many points they’ve got.”

”It is so tight and it’s not a given to win any game, as we have seen with some of the results this weekend and a lot of away wins.”

“But I think you will find that, although it may even itself out towards the end of the season.

“But we are growing, we are getting better, we continue the run, we would have taken seven from nine before the three matches and we move on to Everton.”

It’s a hard case for Steve to make that Aston Villa are a good side, after they had taken only 3 points – 3 draws – from their previous 15 games and had lost 12 of them.

And a team that had beaten Liverpool and Tottenham in our previous two games should have been good enough to beat Aston Villa – but in the end we were almost beaten at the death, but for a great save from goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

We are improving, but it is so painfully and ponderously slow.

What do you think?

Comments welcome – but please be civil to other readers who may disagree with your views.

22 comments so far

  • Jib

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #1

    nightfa11——–We need a forward who wont mind being on the bench.

    We have one – his loan ends at Coventry next month.

  • expatmag

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    Comment #2

    Second rate players for a second rate club…..well done Mike Ashley

  • jane

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Comment #3

    after the first 11 games when we had 7 points I posted that if we win, draw and lose every 3 remaining games we would get 43 points. since then we’ve got 10 points from 6 games so we are ahead of this (Jane’s 🙂 ) target.

  • jane

    Dec 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM

    Comment #4

    does this mean we are improving??!!

  • Sav

    Dec 21, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    Comment #5

    Villa are a very poor side but still gave us a game. The match against Everton will be a much better guide to what progress we may have made. In particular, Janmaat and Dummett should watch how Baines and Coleman play as full-backs.


    Dec 21, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    Comment #6

    dummett is too slow to play as a lb mbabu deserves a chance

  • Reyantoon

    Dec 21, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    Comment #7

    Still not too disappointed with the Villa result considering the bad rain which made the pitch almost unplayable but we need to add some players in Jan.At least the addition of Shelvey & Townsend will give us some power and dominance in midfield.Ship Goufran & Marveaux out.The next game against Everton is the same time as the villa gave,does that mean it will be raining again 🙁

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Reyan…it’s splendid that you are satisfied with 1 point at SJP against bottom team Villa…

    So you are not looking at so many more points for us then?

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    Comment #9

    Roshan…Mbabu is a RB. We need to be playing people in their natural position. A LB is needed in January.

  • Reyantoon

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    Comment #10

    Jesper – nothing splended.Considering how awful the pitch was,I took the point positively.
    The only thing I hugely disappointed was Siem’s bad miss.

  • lesh

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Comment #11


    We needed a decent LB last January but Charnley sold him!

    The P&L account clearly takes precedence over on-the-field success or safety as far as the junta’s concerned.

    Short-term gain equals long-term pain – miopic muppets!

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:46 AM

    Comment #12

    Reyan…so it was raining heavily, but it was the same for both teams. Tough conditions for and especially the keepers.

    That should make a difference on the fact three points were needed. McClaren showed up again unprepared and just fielded the same team.

    Tried to make the same subs. But the outcome was not the same and he was left speechless. That is not an acceptable performance.

    Ron posted the stats yesterday and they were all in Villa’s favor.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Comment #13

    *for both

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    Comment #14

    lesh…I ama simple man so could you explain the short term gain in selling Santon that January?

  • Ron Knee

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    Comment #15

    Morning jesper

    What a pity we didn’t get Garde in January. I bet we’d be in less of a mess than we are today!

  • lochinvar

    Dec 21, 2015 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #16

    Put the Villa game down to bad experience – it was quite a lottery with the rain.
    Was it just me but on TV it looked like Anita failed to get close to their goalscorer and double up on him when he came inside Janmaat and could have tried to stop him shooting or block his shot – looked like a lapse of concentration or reaction on his part.

    Using Everton’s position in the table as a yardstick as to where we might expect or want to be then three points against Everton is crucial otherwise they would be 9 points ahead of us – win and we are only one game three points away from that level in the league.

  • lesh

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    Comment #17


    Charnley negotiated a couple of million for Santon – money they wouldn’t have got had they waited until summer to let him move on.

    And, it appears we’ve dropped 12 points after being in winning positions and had we won those games, would’ve been sitting on 29 points and at least seventh.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Comment #18

    lesh…why couldn’t we get a few £M for Santon in the summer?

    We paid £5M for him and he’s young. I’ll argue that once again Charnley and Ashley lost us money.

    Morning Ron…Garde would have been an amazing choice for us but we should be thankful that we employed an ‘amazing’ coach as manager 😉

  • hibbitt

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    Comment #19

    just for the record mbabu is a CB not a fb has had fitness issues and injuries

  • Yorkshire Magpie

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #20

    i see jesperfuglsang is in a good mood. I do think the conditions played into villas hands on Saturday as it hindered the quick passes and runs from perez and wini. however we did have the better chances and should have won the game. if de jong scores that chance then we would be here talking about how well we did in difficult conditions

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #21

    hibbitt…I thought he was a CB as well but Lilongwe tells me otherwise 🙂

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    Comment #22



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