Steve McClaren has made a commitment to the Newcastle fans going to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, promising them that United are going to go there ‘with no fear and have a go’.
The United boss says that the coaching staff and players ‘owe it to the fans’ and that hopefully an attacking intent can produce a positive result.
Certainly a team on the front foot away at Chelsea and picking up at least a point, would go a long way to reassuring supporters that a corner has at last been turned – 26 games into this Premier League season.
Whilst Guus Hiddink has produced an 11 game unbeaten run since his arrival, recent home draws against Everton (3-3) and West Brom (2-2) show that it isn’t exactly fortress Stamford Bridge any more, with 20 goals conceded at home in 13 PL games so far and only four wins in those 13 matches, there is potential opportunity there for Newcastle.
The blues have only scored one more goal (21) at home than they have conceded, so on the surface it looks like United have every chance of getting something…until maybe if you factor in only six goals scored and 26 conceded on the road for Newcastle in 12 PL matches.
The only problem with Steve McClaren’s comments ahead of Saturday’s game, is that we have heard it all before.
Any number of away games the Newcastle fans have been frustrated and furious in equal measures after the final whistle at the negative tactics and outcome, only for the Head Coach to claim that he had set his team out to attack and it was only bad luck, the officials, opposition goalkeeper etc that had stopped United scoring goals and winning games.
You don’t get two thirds of the way through the season though and have only six goals and two very lucky wins at Spurs and Bournemouth to show for your troubles, without having shown an almost total lack of attacking intent at away matches.
Games away at the likes of West Brom, West Ham, Swansea and others have seen McClaren claim he’d sent his players out to attack but for our own eyes to see something totally different.
Surely at Chelsea Steve McClaren has nothing at all to lose as everybody thinks Newcastle will get beat anyway, so if he sets his team out to have a right go for once at an away match, what exactly has he got to lose?
Steve McClaren speaking on Friday morning at his press conference:
“We have got to go there (Chelsea) with no fear and have a go. We owe it to the fans and hopefully we can get a good result.
“Guus has done a great job (for Chelsea). He’s settled them down and made them hard to beat. They’ve got so many talented players.
“The focus for our players is us, not our opponents. We have to start picking up points away from home.
“Football is a working class game and we must never take that away. Make the prices available so they can come and fill stadiums.”