Newcastle United go into their eighth Premier League match of the season on Saturday at the Etihad, with Steve McClaren once again pointing to the opposition as the reason Newcastle have struggled.
McClaren talked on Friday of having to play six of last season’s top six or seven and he wasn’t too far out.
After Manchester City, Newcastle will have played last season’s top four, as well as seventh (Southampton), eighth (Swansea), twelfth (West Ham) and promoted Watford.
Steve McClaren insists now that after Chelsea he is getting close to the style and standard he wants to see.
If the Manchester City match goes with most people’s expectations, it will be a long 15 days before Newcastle start a run of what look winnable games, with Norwich followed by games against clubs such as Sunderland and Bournemouth.
In the bottom two at the minute and the pressure is on, but that will be nothing if Newcastle don’t start picking up wins and points in the games following Man City.
“The first six out of eight were all top six or seven from last season, definitely the top four. So we knew the first eight games were going to be tough.
“We knew that it would take time to bed in and kind of get used to all the changes, which obviously happened, and we have suffered because of that.
“Now we need a good performance tomorrow, going to the next period, knowing a little more and being a little more consistent.”
‘Has Chelsea match eased pressure?’
“Not at all, I think the pressure will always be there and that is a pressure to perform individually and collectively, at the standard that we want.
“You should have that pressure and fear. That makes you concentrate. We will need that to get anything at the Etihad.
“Consistency is now what we are after from that level of performance against Chelsea. That is how we want to play, the first half. We fought all the way and defended well in the second half.
“We have been inconsistent from the start of the season, some good, some bad. Seven games in and we are getting closer to our style and level of play.
“We have always said it can happen quickly, sometimes it is smooth. But this has not been a smooth one. It has been up and down. We are getting closer.”
“We start with attitude. That has to be right every game or you don’t win. That is where consistency comes from, willingness to work, courage to play and to be organised with discipline.”
With both Newcastle and Man City having a number of injuries to deal with, we wait to see what the two line-ups will look like, though it is stating the glaringly obvious to say that Man City have a ‘little’ more depth than Newcastle.