In Newcastle United’s pre-season schedule, all the warning signs were there.
When I saw the friendlies the club had set up, I instantly thought that this was simply a confidence building exercise.
Newcastle surely choosing such low grade opposition to get the team smashing in the goals and collecting clean sheets against inferior opposition.
The matches kicked off with a 1-0 win at Conference side Gateshead thanks to a Papiss Cisse penalty.
A win but a dreadful performance, never mind I thought as the players were surely just rusty.
Defeat then followed against Mexican side Club Atlas, before the second and final win of pre-season, a 1-0 win via an own goal against third tier Americna club, Sacramento.
Then followed defeat to third tier Portland Timbers 2, before a draw against League One Sheffield United and defeat to League Two York.
Finally, home defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach, who are currently 13th in the Bundesliga.
Gateshead 0 Newcastle 1
Newcastle 1 Club Atlas 2
Sacramento 0 Newcastle 1
Portland Timbers (2nd team) 4 Newcastle 3
Sheffield Utd 2 Newcastle 2
York 1 Newcastle 0
Newcastle 0 Borussia Monchengladbach 1
A lot of people said don’t worry/panic, these are just friendlies, players getting fit etc etc
That is true…but only up to a point.
Results are meaningless but performances are, especially when they don’t get any better as the season gets closer and closer.
The team looked poor, defence shaky and struggling to score goals at the other end.
In the seven games against mainly low grade opposition, Newcastle twice failed to score, three times only scored once, only scoring more than one in the defeat against Portland reserves and draw at Bramall Lane.
Surely Steve McClaren and his staff could see that there were serious weaknesses in the team/squad and more players were needed than the four first team signings that did arrive.
It looks to be a classic case of ‘It’ll be alright on the night’, those inside the club hoping that magically all would come together once the season kicked off.
It didn’t happen and I have serious reservations about these upcoming ‘winnable’ games we are supposed to have coming up.
I really hope the team prove me wrong but I think they will still find it tough to kep clean sheets and score at the other end.
It definitely looks like some players were agitating for a move and the fact that Coloccini trained throughout the summer and yet didn’t play a single minute of the pre-season friendlies was a massive worry. What was going on?
As the start of the season crept closer, we found out that the Captain had agreed a new extended deal and then miraculously played on the opening day of the season against Southampton.
Steve McClaren even said the pre-season schedule was daft and now he is saying the opening eight matches have been like an extended pre-season.
As the saying goes: fail to prepare – prepare to fail.
Newcastle are playing catch-up and this early season chaos is entirely of the club’s own making.
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