It was watching the game at Bournemouth that really convinced me about Steve McClaren and his players.
I thought in matches before that, there were clear signs of some divide between Head Coach and the team.
However, down on the south coast the better players just didn’t look ‘at it’ at all, second to every ball, losing tackles, no real desire or commitment.
Yes they went through the motions and penned back in defence there were blocks from the likes of Mbemba and others…but in terms of being a properly functioning football team, I had the feeling that they had lost faith with what Steve McClaren was asking them to do.
Anita and Tiote were just hopeless as always but the four players who have given us hope in certain matches, looked totally disinterested.
Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and even Ayoze Perez, were all passengers, with the one flowing move of the game that produced the goal, totally at odds with the rest of the 90 minutes.
They looked like they wanted to be anywhere but on that pitch and to create absolutely nothing else in an hour and a half of play against one of the weakest teams in the decision – you knew there was a rabbit off.
The three points of course covered up a multitude of sins that day.
If it had been the three or four goal thrashing that McClaren and his players deserved, then the spotlight would have been intense on the failings of the Head Coach and his players.
The discussion was simply delayed by two weeks, as Leciester did exactly the same as Bournemouth but had the end product to go on top. They won 3-0 and on another day it could have been five or six such was their dominance.
Once again I looked at the Newcastle players and those same four who are the only possible salvation for this season (unless further signings are made in January), were once again, not just playing poorly but not putting in the effort and next to no interest in getting anything going.
There was zero visible plan on how to try and get a goal, obviously Steve McClaren must have worked on something during the week but you’d never have guessed it looking at his players.
I honestly think that the better Newcastle players, the ones with talent, have no faith in Steve McClaren and have stopped playing for him.
It is a really dangerous situation as with Mike Ashley having found somebody so desperate to take the job under any conditions, will not under any circumstances want to lose McClaren who is so willing to be a Pardew-like stooge.
Normally in these situations, eventually enough will be enough at some point and another manager/head coach appointed. However, Ashley has shown that failure isn’t the prime mover in getting a manager the sack at Newcastle, rather it is when they won’t bow to the owner’s will, as we saw with both Chris Hughton and Kevin Keegan.
Newcastle United very much have the look of a team who are descending into potentially the kind of run we saw under John Carver earlier this year and numerous times under Alan Pardew.
Something has to change.
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