When asking Steve McClaren for his assessment of the team’s performance against Portland Timbers second team, the interviewer from Newcastle United certainly didn’t expect to be met with a volley of laughter.

However, that is precisely what the club’s official NUFC TV presenter was met with when asked about a dismal display that saw Newcastle down 4-1 at one point, before Rolando Aarons added a little bit of respectability with two late goals.

I must say that the Newcastle Head Coach is really impressing me with his honesty in interviews, having already expressed his disappointment that the club had arranged to play a game on a pitch where the surface was too dangerous to risk half his players, including most of his defenders.

However, he looked to point the finger of blame at his players rather than the conditions, interestingly not picking on his makeshift defence but rather players in the first half not being able to keep the ball, players he says he would normally expect to do that comfortably.

Although trying his best to be diplomatic, Steve McClaren also couldn’t help but show his frustration at an ill-thought out pre season schedule that after two days travelling, will see the players thrown straight into what is sure to be a tough match at Sheffield United on Sunday lunchtime.

Ominously for some players (starting eleven pictured below), the Head Coach said that the good thing about a poor display like this one, was that you found out certain things you otherwise wouldn’t have realised.

Though one player above criticism for sure from McClaren was Rolando Aarons, who created one and scored the other two in the 4-3 defeat.

Steve McClaren talking to NUFC TV:

‘Steve, your overall assessment tonight please?’

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha, yeah…I think it’s been a tough trip, I think we looked tonight like a team who have been on the road and travelling here, there and everywhere for 10 days.

“We didn’t turn up in the first half, the second half – great response from the players but not enough….and it’s one of them that you don’t want it to happen but are please it has, beacuase you learn a lot more about your team.”

steve mcclaren

Losing the ball:

“In the first half we didn’t play football and we didn’t play as a team, we played as individuals. We lost the ball too many times and then of course you are going to get caught defensively.

“Players that we expect to keep the ball, didn’t keep the ball.”

Rolando Aarons:

“He (Rolando Aarons) has done tremendous and he is only a young man but he has done very well on this trip. Started at left-back and was very good, crossed for the first goal (Wijnaldum – watch it HERE) and then moved him forward in the second half, changed things around a little bit.

“Scored two cracking goals and was always a threat, a bright one for the future.

‘Sheffield United on Sunday – a very quick turnaround?’

“Again, yeah. They certainly made the schedule a tough one…but we have to deal with it and we will do,

“It’s a test and we have to pass these tests. We are not quite right and we have to make sure we do the basics right and get on with it. Now we have to recover, two days travel back and ‘look forward’ to Sunday.”