For the first time there appears to be a public acceptance from Newcastle United that relegation is a real possibility.
United Head Coach Steve McClaren didn’t use the exact words but it wasn’t hard to read between the lines…
The Newcastle boss admitting after Watford that the team are missing ‘quality at both ends’.
“We are not scoring enough away from home, I think that’s the key thing. If you don’t score you don’t win games.
“The boys tried, can’t fault their effort or attitude, just the quality at both ends.”
Without new signings this week it is hard to see this pattern changing very much at all, I think Jonjo Shelvey will help to an extent but without an injection of ‘quality’ up front and/or at the back, where will any substantial improvement come from?
In the 23 Premier League games so far, Newcastle have:
Kept four clean sheets.
Scored two or more goals in a match on seven occasions.
Obviously if you keep a clean sheet you are guaranteed at least one point but on the seven occasions the team have scored two goals, they have also picked up at least one point.
It isn’t as though we are having matches like Norwich did on Saturday, losing 5-4 to Liverpool.
We all knew before the season kicked off that the defence wasn’t good enough to keep clean sheets, Chancel Mbemba has turned out to be a massive success but he could never make up for the weaknesses of Coloccini, Dummett/Haidara, as well as Janmaat’s very average defending (though great going forward).
Despite this, Steve McClaren persists with negative selections and formations, seemingly thinking if he persists that clean sheets will eventually be squeezed out of this group of players. They won’t.
The only win Newcastle have managed when they haven’t scored two or more goals was Bournemouth and the team were totally outplayed, with Rob Elliot’s goal leading a charmed life.
McClaren has to set his team up to try and score a couple of goals or more every game, anything less and we are definitely tottering on the edge of the cliff, with relegation awaiting.
The question is whether McClaren and his team are up to the job and if not, what is Mike Ashley going to do about it?
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