Gini Wijnaldum is going through a tough patch at the moment, as any player does during a season.
We were not surprised when Gini started the game on Saturday, because he is probably our best player this season and top goalscorer with 9 goals – you don’t usually drop your top player when they are going through a bad spell.
But Steve McClaren replaced Wijnaldum at half time at Chelsea with Jack Colback coming in as he went into damage limitation mode and had given up on getting any points out of the game.
Gini Wijnaldum in happier times
Damage limitation mode is a negative thing to talk about never mind implement – it’s never even discussed or talked about in sports in America – the phrase is unknown here.
Not to try to win is unacceptable whatever the scoreline.
Gini Wijnaldum had been ineffective – like a lot of other Newcastle players – in that first half when we lost the game in the first 17 minutes by conceding three sloppy goals.
We didn’t get much out of the cup final on Saturday and lost 5-1.
Gini was asked to comment on his substitution and whether Steve McClaren had said anything of consequence in the dressing room at half time:
“Did the manager say something in the dressing room? Yes he said something, but I will keep it between me and him.”
“As for whether the substitution was tactical, I don’t know. This is something you must ask the manager. I think it’s his job to answer this question and not mine.”
“I don’t know what went wrong,” “I think we didn’t start well and they scored three in I don’t know how many minutes.” “Then it didn’t seem possible to win.”
“To concede three inside 17 minutes makes it worse for us and harder to win the game.” “That’s what happened and that’s why we made it easier for them. It’s hard.”
Steve McClaren has to work hard when the lads leave for La Manga in Spain on Wednesday for some warm weather training.
It’s a chance to get the team organized which is one job of the head coach.
We certainly didn’t look organized on Saturday in any way – in fact we looked a complete shambles as we had done in the previous away game at Everton.
We are hoping for better things at Stoke on March 2nd – a win would be good.
And we should expect Stoke to go all out just like Chelsea did in the first 20 minutes or so of that game.
Newcastle cannot collapse in that game.