When players are asked/talk about their manager, is there really any point in even reading it…?

In 99% of cases you know that they are going to be saying stuff along the lines of:

‘Doing a great job’ (despite being bottom of the table)

‘The team are right behind him’ (with their knives out)

‘There’s been a lot of bad luck’ (and if I don’t say that then it is admitting that we are really rubbish and/or not trying)

The latest in a long line of players to watch Steve McClaren’s back is Gini Wijnaldum, who at least has had the benefit of a win to give a little credibility to his words.

Amusingly though, his use of English has inadvertently also given an alternative meaning to the phrase that has been most quoted today.

Wijnaldum having said ‘For this club, he is the best we can get right now’.

The midfielder of course was meaning that Steve McClaren was the best man for the job.

However, if you were mischievous, you could take it as meaning Newcastle couldn’t get anybody decent so he’ll have to do for now.

The truth probably lies somewhere in between those two extremes.

Wijnaldum has of course been one of the few positives this season and it doesn’t bear thinking about where we would have been without his seven and a half (first one v Liverpool) goals.

However, a bit doubtful to hear the former PSV player saying he was unaware that there’d been talk about a potential McClaren sacking if things didn’t improve against Liverpool and Spurs. It was well covered in the media and even if the players had missed that, the fact they were second bottom and had won only two our 14 Premier League matches before Sunday should have told them all they needed to know.

You had to doubt whether the players were playing for McClaren after the feeble displays against Bournemouth, Leicester and Palace, or indeed even playing for their own self-belief and pride.

The Liverpool match at least reassured us that there is something there and that they are capable of doing themselves justice at least when it comes to effort. A one-off display of effort is of course meaningless and I have a feeling that whilst I think we will get beat at Spurs, the Villa match will tell us an awful lot as to what we can expect in the second half of the season.

Gini Wijnaldum:

“For this club, he is the best we can get right now.

“I hope that the club will give him the faith and keep him here. That is the thing in football. When results go wrong, everyone says the trainer is responsible for that. It is not fair every time.

“I didn’t know there was talk about his future but against Liverpool, we fought hard both for him and the team.

“If you want to go further and climb the table, you have to be honest with each other. Sometimes, it can be hard to be honest but it had to be done.”

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