Groundhog day, more of the same from Steve McClaren and his players.
Watford deserved to win, Newcastle played ok in short periods but for much of the match looked clueless and liable to concede throughout the 90 odd minutes.
I could be talking about two thirds or more of United’s matches this season, maybe more.
Sadly, the other part of the pattern was also continued, with Steve McClaren defying reality and the truth.
The truth that 2,100 Newcastle fans had watched in the flesh, plus tens of thousands in pubs, social clubs and on internet streams in black and white homes around the world.
I think at times with standard away games that aren’t on live tv, this is something that Steve McClaren and others at the club just don’t realise, it isn’t like the old days when if you went to an away game you were the font of all knowledge when you returned and saw your mates.
Steve, it isn’t a couple of thousand travelling fans that you are trying to convince black is white or vice-versa, it is tens of thousands, if not many more, who have seen the full match and can see for themselves what a mess the team is. They aren’t relying on the brief Match of The Day highlights as they lie dozing on the sofa after a skinful.
When Steve McClaren says his team were ‘…tremendous – great effort, attitude – controlled the game’….’We put a shape out there which controlled the game’…’We have been playing like this for quite a while’….
What Steve McClaren is really saying is that HE is doing a tremendous job.
If he can keep repeating this distorted view after every match he knows that a sizeable amount of the media simply repeat it, he is not questioned.
The local press and local journalists who cover Newcastle for the nationals appear unwilling, or maybe afraid, to strip away the emperor’s new clothes protection away from the Newcastle Head Coach.
Whether it is fear of a ban or just laziness, none of them appear willing to say that he is talking rubbish and while Newcastle sometimes show hints of quality and control games for very brief periods, they usually deserve to get beat and rarely work the opposition keeper to any great extent. That was the case at Watford, home to Everton, away at West Brom and so on…
McClaren wants the message to be that his team don’t win due to any combination of bad luck, bad officials, bad run of fixtures etc etc
Admitting that his team haven’t been good enough will only lead to an invitation for more and more fans and even the odd journalist to then ask, ‘why weren’t they good enough, is there anything that YOU could have done better?’.
Many people were relieved that Steve McClaren wasn’t Alan Pardew still in charge, a few even thought McClaren might be a good choice, I had no such expectations but hoped for the best.
When Newcastle ever played Middlesbrough I never thought ‘aren’t Steve McClaren’s teams great, I wish he was our manager’ (he’s only ever had one top ten finish in the Premier League) and when we signed up the out of work sacked Championship failure I thought it was a horrendous move and very much a wasted chance of a new beginning for fans and club.
He came in simply as a yes man, with even less say than Pardew had, evidenced by the fact that before appointing a permanent successor the club made statements making clear that the new man would be a ‘Head Coach’ and not a manager, with very restricted limits to his powers, there to organise the players that had been handed to him by Graham Carr and Lee Charnley/Mike Ashley.
Despite having a handful of good to very good players such as Janmaat, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Perez, Mbemba and now Shelvey, the performances and results simply continue in the same chaotic way.
By now you have to accept that Steve McClaren and/or his team are not good enough – I know for a fact that Steve ‘Tremendous’ McClaren is not up to the job and I just hope this is not the case also with the team/squad.
I often feel that the team have played at their best in these brief spells when they have ignored anything that Steve McClaren has said to them pre-match, his negative tactics ignored as they try to open up the game and play football.
This is also what happened under Alan Pardew when Newcastle finished fifth, the likes of Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse took the game by the scruff of the neck and collectively or individually did their own thing, rather than Pardew’s limited tactics of trying not to concede and hoping to sneak the first goal (sounds familiar…?).
Clearly Mike Ashley is not going to sack his latest yes man and so we just have to hope that the better players decide to take matters into their own hands, starting at Goodison Park in 10 days time.
Continuing to ‘control the game’ Steve McClaren style will only lead us to one place.
Steve McClaren speaking after the latest defeat at Watford:
“I thought that we were tremendous – great effort, attitude – controlled the game.
“We didn’t defend two crosses into our box, you have to win your duels and that gave us a mountain to climb.
“From then on we really had a go, created chances and got the goal, and there was only one team going to score a goal at the end.
“We have been playing like this for quite a while, we really have, you can see the confidence and belief but you have to score more goals.
“We put a shape out there which controlled the game and deserved to get more.
“If we keep playing like that, with that attitude, it will turn around.”
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