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 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.