Steve McClaren says that Aston Villa will be an even bigger challenge than Liverpool and Spurs, for both the players and the supporters.
The Head Coach talks of it as a test of character and I’m guessing what he is really getting at, is that whereas nobody really expected Newcastle to win either of the last two matches, now everybody will think that a woeful Aston Villa should be beaten – but also that it should be a convincing victory and with a certain amount of style.
These two wins have been achieved on the back of very defensive tactics and now the challenge for Steve McClaren is sending out a team to take the game to the opposition.
The three matches where Newcastle have really tried to be the dominant team, have seen draws against Stoke City and Southampton, as well as the bizarre 6-2 win over Norwich.
Considering what they have done in other matches, it was a surprise that Stoke didn’t carry much of an attacking threat that day, but certainly Southampton and Norwich had plenty of opportunities in those more open games.
Recent times have seen it revealed that Steve McClaren has been getting coaching from Steve Black as to what to say at interviews, the best delivery and key phrases and buzzwords to say.
A new one McClaren has been using in recent days is ‘This is what we are, this is what we want to be’, as Newcastle have won their last two matches.
Let’s hope he is still repeating it after the Villa defeat.
Steve McClaren talking to NUFC TV:
“Even more satisfying (beating Spurs) than Liverpool – most definitely – without a shadow of a doubt. You can always get one-off performances, especially from this team, and we have challenged them to do it week in week out.
“Last week (v Liverpool), this is what we are – this what we want to be, and we said it again this week, this is what we are – this what we want to be, consistency week in week out.
“No – it is purely down to the players. I have made lots of substitutions in my time and some work, some don’t. It is purely down to the players – their attitude, their readiness to impact and they were ready. They (Perez and Mitrovoic) came on and won us the game.”
‘First time Newcastle have come from behind for almost a year, what does that tell you?’
“Exactly and that is what we wanted to do. The players were immense at half-time, they talked about everybody expecting Newcastle to fold, so I didn’t have to say a lot at half-time.
“They took it and they came out and fought and deserved the win, they were vocal, noisy, we was angry with the goal, the set-piece.
“Rob Elliot was great in there and Colo, there was just a determination not to let that bother us and keep going.”
‘Back to back wins for the first time since you came?’
“So so important. First time in over a year. That is the kind of endurance you need, what builds confidence is demonstrating ability, doing it.
“They have done it, done it for two weeks and now they have to do it for a third. Villa is an even bigger test of character; for the players, for the crowd, for everybody at the club.”