After today’s 1-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach, Steve McClaren said it was ‘nice’ to see his three new signings out on the pitch but that the trio had ‘a long way to go’ in terms of getting fully up to speed in the Premier League.
With Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba all coming from weaker leagues, it was always going to be a tough ask to step instantly up to the Premier League.
Gini Wijnaldum has at least had half a pre season with Newcastle, whereas with Mitrovic and Mbemba’s moves taking forever and a day, the defender has only half an hour today under his belt and next to no training with his new teammates.
Whilst Aleksandar Mitrovic has a little more training this past week and started against York City.
However, of the three it must be nailed on that only former Ajax man Wijnaldum has any chance of starting agaainst Southampton next Sunday.
On a more positive note, Steve McClaren felt that his team played better against Monchengladbach and controlled the ball better than they have been doing pre season.
Although at the same time, the Head coach admitted that in the final third his players are continuing to struggle.
Steve McClaren speaking to NUFC tv:
“It is nice to see him (Mbemba), it is nice to see Gini (Wijnaldum), it’s nice to see Mitrovic. I thought they all did well and a long way to go, but good to see them.”
A frustrating pre season:
“It has kind of being frustrating all pre season, generally right up to the penalty box we’ve been very good and then final ball, final finish – it’s not been quite there.
“We need to improve on that but in terms of the game, against tough opponents, it was a good test for us.”
“We’ve not done a lot of preparation, in terms of it being a short pre season. What pleased me was that we controlled the game a little better, whereas normally you have watched games and it has been end to end.
“We’ve won the ball and then given it away – but we kept the ball better, more patient. Defensively we recovered our shape and were hard to beat – a big improvement today.”
A game to win today:
“I said today was a game to win, we didn’t want to lose. The game would be played so the subs would be made to not get people minutes, but to make sure we get a result.
“We did that and we kind of built the game up well and ended it very strong – we were very unlucky not to score.”