Steve McClaren appears to have painted himself into a tight corner at his latest press conference.
The Newcastle Head Coach has said that the team have to give a performance against Sheffield Wednesday that ‘proves the doubters wrong’.
The problem comes if Wednesday night sees an ever poorer display than at West Ham or at home to Watford, with Newcastle knocked out of the cup.
In those circumstances, what does Steve McClaren come back and say before the Chelsea match…’Well there wasn’t even enough heart in the team to beat a Championship mid-table team and we couldn’t prove the doubters wrong…?’
The United boss has repeated the mantra that Newcastle showed ‘fantastic spirit’ in the first four matches.
Whereas the reality for me was two backs to the wall games against Man Utd and Arsenal, whilst Swansea battered and totally outplayed Newcastle all game, plus the Southampton game saw Newcastle fade really badly and lucky to get a draw in the end.
When Steve McClaren talks about fight and showing character and all the rest of it, it is hard not to think we have heard it all before from Alan Pardew and John Carver when runs of games without winning grew longer and longer.
Managers/Head Coaches can only say so many things when under pressure, with the size and quality of the squad not being properly addressed in the summer, there are few other options when the new signings haven’t instantly put things right.
Especially with the latest injury news today.
“Blind faith is needed…a bit of blind faith and belief that we’ll eventually get this right, turn it around, win some games – we need that from the club as a whole.
“It is always a test coming to any club, you have always got, at some stage, testing times – it has come early and isn’t unexpected.”
“It is par for the course – it is football. We have the patience and calm to deal with it and a lot of work is going on behind the scenes.
“The big thing that we are trying to turn around is a club who last season had to win the last game to stay up, so there is bound to be baggage.”
“Our first four league games they showed fantastic spirit and then the last two games, we have conceded goals and not come back from that, the reaction has not been right.
“That is belief, a bit of…’here we go again’ – we have talked about it and addressed it , we now have to put up a reaction.”
Concentrate on performance and fight:
“We put up the last game of the season and the fight showed as the benchmark for what is needed, we have got to keep the spirit and belief going.
“We concentrate on performance and fight, the results will follow – if you’re not winning then you aren’t confident.”
Sheffield Wednesday will expect to win:
“Four or five (Newcastle players) have said: ‘I don’t want a rest, I don’t need a rest and I want to play’. That’s the type of character that will get us winning games.
“Looking at the situation they (Sheff Wed) will expect to win, a good team. I know them from last season. They have changed their manager and style – good players. We have to do a performance that proves the doubters wrong.”