Steve McClaren has claimed that there has always been a plan in each Newcastle match this season, the only problem having been when the players cross that white line…
To be honest there wasn’t really anything that different about the way the Head Coach set his team up.
Rumours of major changes in the starting eleven proved wide of the mark, probably thwarted at least in part by the injury to Mike Williamson.
In the event only Siem de Jong came in at the expense of Ayoze Perez and there didn’t look any great shake-up in formation.
In fact, if you are truthful, there still didn’t look to be any real ‘plan’ on how Newcastle were going to score a goal(s).
The one/only change was in the attitude of the United players and getting closer to the opposition, not giving them a chance to dictate play as had happened in the previous three matches.
The ‘plan’ of trying to stop Liverpool did work, the fact that there was only one shot on target for each team shows how well Newcastle did in fact cancel out their in-form opposition.
That extra graft was summed up by the crucial opening goal, there looking nothing on as Wijnaldum was outnumbered but he kept at it and worked an angle to try and cross it, producing the wicked deflection that effectively won the game.
There is an old saying about the victors writing history and when it comes to football, as Steve McClaren shows, when you win the game you can say pretty much anything you want and get away with it.
If you lose, then whatever you say will be just excuses, which is where it was fair play to Jurgen Klopp. Refreshing to hear a manager in the Premier League just accepting that his side hadn’t deserved to win in a poor game.
“It is all right putting a plan into place but it is all about the players’ desire, discipline, concentration and focus to do the work.
“So there is always a plan. Always when you lose, the plan goes wrong.
“We talked about the workrate and we pressed from the front, worked as a team and kept compact.
“When you keep your focus, win your duels, put the work in and compete, then you get results.”