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Why Newcastle So Short Of Defenders – McClaren´s Excuse

8:12 am, Saturday, February 6th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 44 Comments

Newcastle have been woeful in defense for over two years now but we didn´t strengthen last month by bringing in defenders, but manager Steve McClaren is now saying it wasn´t for the want of trying …….. they just failed.

Just less than a year ago John Carver was complaining of being short of players – especially at left back – but we get injuries every single year – and we are always top of the injury league – so why don´t Newcastle admit that and plan for it?

steve mcclaren man united

Steve McClaren – short of left backs – again

It´s nothing short of embarrassing that Newcastle are so short of players for today´s vital game against West Brom – where a defeat would take us ever closer to relegation this season.

Here´s what McClaren has said when asked why no defensive cover was brought in last month:

“It certainly wasn’t through a lack of effort and wanting,” “Going out there and seeing suitability, not being available. But believe you, me, in terms of centre-back we had four.”

“Priorities were elsewhere. We were always looking for a left-back, as cover, short-term.”

“Believe you, me, I think five or six were tried at the weekend but for various reasons it didn’t work out for us.”

“Dummett had trained for five or six games, Haidara could possibly be right for Stoke,.”

“We’ll have that 18-day break to get people back into the squad. It wasn’t the case to think we’d get three injuries in one game. That’s crazy.”

“I can’t sit here and be positive about the injury list and I can’t sit here and be positive about losing three defenders and all that happened on Wednesday.” 

“You generally try to keep upbeat, but it’s difficult with the amount of injuries. The only thing to be positive about is that in three weeks we’ve got about five important players coming back.”

The problem wasn´t losing three defenders on Wednesday – the problem was specifically losing Paul Dummett,  because we have no cover for him.

We suppose the players we went after were Atletico Madrid´s Guilherme Siqueira and Valencia’s Lucas Orban but they went elsewhere.

There were also rumors we were after former left-backs Jose Enrique and Davide Santon who we sold a year ago.

So we tried to get in a left back well that´s nice but means nothing.

We are reminded of what the ghost of Christmas Past said in Dickens’ Christmas Carol – almost doesn´t count.

The other question we should ask is why weren´t defenders brought in last summer when only Chancel Mbemba was added to the squad.

We were short of a left back a year ago under John Carver when both Haidara and Dummett were injured after we had effectively sold Davide Santon to Inter-Milan – so there´s a history to this – it hasn´t suddenly come about this season.

Steve McClaren has to get results now – we have heard all the excuses – now it´s injuries – but it has to be about getting points on the board before too many more games go by.

And playing well and losing is still zero points.

And if we lose against West Brom and Chelsea we could see that 18 day break be time for a new manager to be bedding in at Newcastle.

This game today is that serious for Newcastle United and for Steve McClaren – but he doesn´t seem to realize the seriousness of the situation.

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Tags: Injuries · Newcastle News · Paul Dummett · Poll · Premier League · Recruitment · Transfer News and Rumours

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 firebug666 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    They had the whole month of January to bring in defensive cover, but they only started looking in the last week, and made their failed attempts in the last few days.

    Seems to me Charnley cannot multi-task, and spent most of the window bogged down with the Townsend deal.

    He seems like the type of person that has to have one deal done before he starts another.

    They had from August to January to asses the squad and ready their targets for the window opening, enquiries and negotiations could have been done anytime prior to the window opening.

    This is just more PR bullsh*t, but not unexpected!

  • 2 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:24 AM

    Janmaat saylor Colo ??
    Townsend saviet gini aarons
    Doumbia Mitro

    Sissoko, Shelvey and Perez need to sit out imo, 2 upfront is a must as we are not scoring playing 1 and Mitro needs someone alongside him I think doumbia would make good runs for mitros flick ons.

  • 3 cyprus // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    Tough game. We are a better team but the nerves will be jangling, both for the fans and the players. If we concede it will be like the end of the world and shoulders will drop.

    The crowd must get behind the team and must intimidate the hell out of WBA. The players need the fans, more than ever.

    On players: if our two big stars perform (Gini, Sissoko), we’ll be ok. Hope that CF hits the ground running. I know you want to give him time Steve, but we ain’t got time. Play him. If he’s as bad as Shelvey we’ll soon know.

  • 4 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Janmaat saylor Colo mbabu
    Townsend saviet gini arrons
    Doumbia Mitro

    With Mitro and doumbia we need proper wingers on

  • 5 magscar // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:34 AM


    My fear would be getting overrun in midfield with that set up – seen nothing to convince me Gini can play CM. Problems on Weds were more to do with McClarens setting up than Shelvey’s fault.

    Would be interesting if he did go for Townsend over Sissoko but i would be concerned for whoever was at LB with Aarons in front of them so I reckon Sissoko will play with Townsend on left.

    It is an attractive option to go 2 up front but I feel we lose out on Gini’s effectiveness if he is pushed back into centre or on LW so expect 1 striker and given WBA strong defenders expect Mitro to start.

  • 6 cyprus // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    If we go down you can blame Charn and MA, as the top dogs. But, really, it’s Carr that must be put out to pasture. Hundreds of millions and we ain’t at the top…

  • 7 NoahJ // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    Why wasn’t it a priority, though?

    in left back, we have dummett (not good enough), mbabu (way too volatile) and haidara (way too injury prone).

    instead we prioritiesed central midfield, where we already have: anita, tiote, colback, sissoko, wiji, de jong, not to mention vuckic, and having to let abeid (who was good) leave because there was too much competition. I’m not saying all of these are amazing players, but if things didn’t work out for getting a CM, then at least we had enough to keep up going until the summer. With left back, if things didn’t work out getting one, we’ll be in this absolute mess.

    Great management.

  • 8 sing in the corner // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    Yeah tough game because of the situation,but there aren’t many other Prem teams I’d like to swap to play instead of WBA. Add in their injuries and we’ve got to take this as an opportunity.

  • 9 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:37 AM


    Swap Shelvey with gini??

  • 10 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:40 AM


    Mbabu lb with arrons ahead of him we need to balls in the box the way we have to get 2 upfront the old fashioned way with out and out wingers

  • 11 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:40 AM

    The win against west ham was the last win of this team which will win none till the end of the season.I was very hopeful with this team even prior to the recent signings which bar DOUMBIA,i feel was very poor. Shelvey, yeah 1 good match and then was nowhere to be seen in the last 2 defeats.this team is already relegated alas.4 nil for west brom today and yeah,i’ve given up on this team since the pathetic display of wednesday.newcastle united is still in my heart and soul that’s why i’m so much hurt and bitter since some have taken the passion out of this team.

  • 12 sparky55 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    I have zero confidence in Maclaren’s ability to lead us to safety.

    His starting line-ups, his 2 minute impact subs when were losing games, his tactics are always heavily weighted on what he thinks the opposition will be doing as opposed to what we’re going to bring to the game to catch the opposition out, his playing people out of position is worse than the last two muppets we’ve had in charge, why o why he plays Perez as our target man leaving 30 yards between him and the midfield is mind boggling, Aarons as a left back is stupidity of the highest order and just about the last person I would put there but Maclarens first choice as a LB replacement, wasting that substitution on wednesday was a farce and you can see by his expressions on the sidelines he has no idea what to do as soon as things start going bad.

    He has nothing to offer once the game has started because he’s clueless

  • 13 cyprus // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Has anyone seen a lot of Aarons? I saw one very good game of his (forget which) and in the rest he’s been outrageously poor. Though I don’t want to draw any real conclusions as I don’t have enough info. On what I’ve seen I’d rather play Goufy. What happened to that Marveaux? Is he still with us.

  • 14 gaz 44 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    If we do go down, the 2 who need to be out is charnley and Carr, Ashley has allowed them to spend big, big is what they’ve spent, on the correct players I’m not so sure

    For me today’s team has to be

    Janmaat saylor collo mbabu

    Townsend socks saviet Gini/Perez



  • 15 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    if only those in charge of our beloved club had seen it yr way my friend but i wonder what they see since they couldn’t sort out what was flagrantly evident and that has been voiced out by soccer pundits ,fans and former players alike.wher do you expect us to go from here?

  • 16 sing in the corner // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Blimey guys,don’t do a Villa. With stacks of points to play for, some dodgy teams around us there’s plenty of hope. Win today puts it all back in the mix. It’s not glamorous or where we want to be but now it’s a question of ‘are we one of the 3 worst squads in this league? It’s not great, but I think the answer to that is no.

  • 17 SPRINGY // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    morning all
    starting aarons at LB could be a major mistake as i believe it may cost us the game,he’s not fit,sharp or even know enough about playing this position….i would play the lad whos played this position regularly for under 21’s or goofy or at a push saivet….the side is ganna be knackered later in the game,taylor just back from injury,colo is getting on a bit, and whoever comes in at left back will no have a tense afternoon, so we really need to batter this team early and get a good few goals up….can see us leaking goals later in the game due to fitness problems….maybe going 3 at back is option to think about.

  • 18 NoahJ // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Cyprus @13

    Aarons was incredible against Man City in the league cup last season.

    He hasn’t done a great deal since, but that’s largely to be injured, and on the few games he’s played for us (bearing in mind that watford was his first ever prem start for us), he’s been played out of position.

    I think he’s a talent, and I don’t think it’s fair to judge him until he’s had a good run on the left wing, where he belongs.

    We still have marveaux, again another player I feel hasn’t been given a long enough chance. But, I’ve heard he has a trigger in his contract which means we’d be compelled to offer him a new one if he reaches a certain amount of matches. hence why he was essentially exiled by pardew, then by carver, and now by mclaren

  • 19 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    gaz 44
    we are going down mate.

  • 20 firebug666 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:50 AM


    I agree about Carr, though I think he was doing a job under some strict restraints in the past, but his failures are getting more expensive, and his gems fewer and fewer.

    The incompetence at the higher levels has never been so easy to see, in the past individuals would hide behind those lower down the ranks, but since the fat man spoke on telly, and money was available the idiots across the board have nowhere left to hide, after all they keep telling us were all in it together.

    The lot need replacing ASAP!

  • 21 SPRINGY // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    if mbabu is fit he would be the obvious choice for LB….has anyone heard if he’s fit?

  • 22 cyprus // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    I see you shelved Shelvey. I agree, given how he’s been our poorest player by a distance. But he’s supposed to be our link up player, the guy who will provide some directness and through balls. I’d give him a half. If he can’t handle it take him off.

  • 23 magscar // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:51 AM



    i am suggesting both play ( so Gini for Doumbia in a 4-4-1-1)


    Think Mbabu is also still injured otherwise he would be in I think. For wingers I believe McClaren will stick with Townsend ad Sissoko – Aarons is still finding his way back and from what I have seen of him is a shadow of when he was marauding down the left last season.

    What is certain is that all 3 subs will feature

  • 24 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    was ginidumb even playing on wednesday?

  • 25 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Springy have him back and bbc also, he would be ahead of all our lbs for me

  • 26 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    4-4-1-1 never work for us.

  • 27 firebug666 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:54 AM


    Unfortunately I can see only one direction for us mate, as long as Macca is in control of the team it’s onwards and downwards.

  • 28 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Sissoko is the most inconsistent player we have and needs dropped, why not play gini upfront with Mitro not just behind and play 4-4-2 he’s our top goalscorer.

  • 29 cyprus // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    Fair comments and it would be totally unfair to dismiss him. I think we all agree that he ain’t no LB.
    Yep, clean slate. Bring back KK while you’re at it 😉

  • 30 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    Gini has to play at home he never turns up for away games

  • 31 magscar // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:57 AM


    I am trying to retain my usual optimism but McClaren has got to start NOW making the right calls if we are to scrape through.

    We should be able to win today and there are other winnable home matches when generally he has set us up better but it is away that I am worried about with not many obvious points if we continue as we are. Villa and Norwich are big games and unless we fluke some others probably will need 6 points

  • 32 SPRINGY // Feb 6, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    i admire your optimism but our league position all season would be the argument against, that we are one of the 3 worst teams in league… is the time for the players to step up and prove there not…. if they can.

  • 33 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    firebug666 they have taken the piss out of me and since wednesday i’m in such a rage that i can even end punching and blowing myself to bits let alone punching a poor helpless horse a horse.
    only lascelles , saivet and elliot seems wanting to play,the rest the least said the better.was it tactics, players played out of position we’ve heard it all since time immemorial but has any lessons been learnt? any amendment made? why have these mistakes been repeated over and over and over?

  • 34 SPRINGY // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    cheers for the info….hope your right!lol

  • 35 sing in the corner // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    42 points to play for. We are 2 points from ‘safety’. Our position is a hugely concerning one but the attitude of ‘we’re down’ is a bit premature.
    Fans are passionate but often ultra reactive. Shelvey was hailed as the 2nd coming after his debut. 2 games later he’s on some people’s scrap heap. He’s got quality, hopefully he shows it again today and it will all turn again.

  • 36 eaststandgeordie1982 // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:02 AM


    I hope it’s right aswell lol

  • 37 firebug666 // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:07 AM


    It was Macca’s fault mate, the whole set up was wrong, playing Perez up front (out of position and playing as a target man) only served to put the team under pressure, there was absolutely no route forward, and we got bogged down in midfield eventually succumbing to the pressure.

    This is what gave Everton the confidence to attack us, it was obvious we were not going to trouble their defence with Perez so they pushed up and pinned us back.

    Fault lies with Macca.

  • 38 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    and who has been paying for his fault my friend?And till when can he and should he be allowed these faults?

  • 39 firebug666 // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:15 AM


    He should have been gone after those first 10 game, or then in January, he should never have been appointed in the first place.

    But as we all know, the club is run by idiots, although we have moved on a little, in the past if it was cheap and useless we wanted it and got it, but now we have upgraded that to expensive and useless, but just so long as it is useless it will do apparently.

  • 40 MAUTITOON // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    its not that i don’t like him, he’s a lovable person but i just can’t take the fact that even clubs of smaller stature are winning easily against us without any response.WHY do we get wow games against the like of liverpool, man u, tottenham, chelsea and just fade away against lesser opponents if i dare say lesser because for the time being we are the lesser team in this division

  • 41 The overrated Frenchman // Feb 6, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    If Man City, or Man U, or Arsenal needed a left back desperately do you think they would have got one? Of course they would. OK, you can say that it’s easier for them to attract players. But surely there was one decent candidate we could have got “over the line” with a concerted, considered effort. Unfortunately intelligence, common sense, and general football smarts are nowhere to be seen in the corridors of power at this club.

  • 42 benjohnsen // Feb 6, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    Perhaps someone sit one more intel then me, but why on earth did we let Santon go? He was the best left back we had since Bernard. I never understood it.

  • 43 Sav // Feb 6, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    Who gives Carr his scouting brief? Does anyone say ‘Colo is getting slow, or Dummett can’t get forward or if Mbemba is injured, we are in the clarts? How often does our chief scout watch our own games to identify weaknesses for himself? And if he does, has he no opinion on the dodgy formations and poor performances the rest of us are seeing regularly?

  • 44 c-dog // Feb 6, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    It’s harder to unearth a defender who will have a higher resale value. That’s why we don’t concentrate on that area when buying players I’d imagine. If Doumbia doesn’t do a Cisse, I fear we won’t get out of trouble.

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