Steve McClaren has admitted that Jonjo Shelvey has brought that ‘extra quality’ which has been missing from Newcastle’s midfield this season.
The midfielder instrumental in both goals, the second featuring an awesome 67 yard diagonal pass which was straight into the path of Daryl Janmaat, the full-back perfectly crossing for Gini Wijnaldum to finish.
The Newcastle Head Coach though, more contentiously claimed that his team have been playing just as well in previous matches as they did against West Ham, but without getting their reward.
This goes against the overwhelming reaction of supporters after Saturday’s game, with the first half against West Ham clearly a class above anything they have done this season, with perhaps only the Arsenal match coming anywhere near the general level the team played at this weekend.
Steve McClaren also talked about how you can win a game in the first 20 minutes and said that was basically what Newcastle did against the Hammers.
Once again this is a whole new welcome direction for the tactics and the team, as until Shelvey’s introduction pretty much every match saw Newcastle simply defending in numbers and trying not to concede early on.
Fingers crossed that this is a permanent major new turn of direction in terms of goals, entertainment and results.
Steve McClaren talking to the club’s official tv channel:
“I don’t think it should have been close, I really don’t.
“2-0 at half-time, we said we needed the third goal and we had opportunities, gifted them a goal and made it closer than it should have been.
“A little nervous for 10 minutes but I thought we were excellent after that – defended well to get the win.
“Great start, what a fantastic start. We talked about the start and you can win the game in the first 20 minutes and more or less they have done. Two cracking goals, the tempo of play…great intensity and intent.”
‘Is this first half the yardstick for the rest of the season?’
“I think they have been doing this for weeks without getting the results.
“Nice debut for Jonjo Shelvey, showed his quality, showed what he is going to bring to the team. Think the team are going to enjoy playing with him and you can see he has got that little bit of extra quality that we need.”
‘Henri Saivet came on?’
“What a difficult situation to come on, 2-1 and under pressuree and he has to do a job. I thought he grew as the game went on. He did his job and kept the ball, gave it to the players who can play.
“We have taken an opportunity to get back into the pack…come on, let’s go on.”