The Steve McClaren strategy for success this season is based on a ‘six pass’ plan of keeping the ball.

The Head Coach’s assistant Paul Simpson says that this six pass idea was what underpinned the near victory over Chelsea on Saturday.

In pre-season, Simpson reveals that the players had worked with the idea of running up sequences of six or more passes which the coaching staff believed would then lead to obviously more possession (instead of trying to hit long under Alan Pardew) and hopefully more wins…

Newcastle only managed 35% possession on Saturday but certainly for the first 50 or 60 minutes they used the ball well and a lot of the time it wasn’t possession for the sake of it.

So often in the past we have seen the team  in recent years pass it round and round the defence before Tim Krul would hoof it forward, instead against Chelsea it was good to see the players looking to go forward the vast majority of the time.

However, Paul Simpson says that once they went 2-0 up, the players seemingly forgot all the good things they had done to get into that two goal lead.

Paul Simpson talking to the club’s official tv channel:

“We let the reigning champions off the hook, the way we stopped doing the things that we had done in the first half was a real big disappointment.

“We had talked about where we were going wrong, we had talked to the players and asked their opinions about where we need to improve.”

Great to watch:

“We came up with a few answers and then in the first half v Chelsea we put that talk into practice. It was great to watch because it was everything about a team that we as a group of staff want to have.

“We want people who are prepared to put in tackles, play with enthusiasm, get forward, make attacking chances, defend resolutely. Mixed in with some really good football.”

Six passes good:

“Some good sequences of being in possession of the ball, we judge that on six or more passes sequences and we had a good number of those in the first half.

“Unfortunately, once we scored the second goal we appeared to forget what had got us into the position and in a way we were wishing our lives away, waiting for the whistle to go, and that is when you get caught out.”