When asking Steve McClaren for his assessment of the team’s performance against Portland Timbers second team, the interviewer from Newcastle United certainly didn’t expect to be met with a volley of laughter.

However, that is precisely what the club’s official NUFC TV presenter was met with when asked about a dismal display that saw Newcastle down 4-1 at one point, before Rolando Aarons added a little bit of respectability with two late goals.

I must say that the Newcastle Head Coach is really impressing me with his honesty in interviews, having already expressed his disappointment that the club had arranged to play a game on a pitch where the surface was too dangerous to risk half his players, including most of his defenders.

However, he looked to point the finger of blame at his players rather than the conditions, interestingly not picking on his makeshift defence but rather players in the first half not being able to keep the ball, players he says he would normally expect to do that comfortably.

Although trying his best to be diplomatic, Steve McClaren also couldn’t help but show his frustration at an ill-thought out pre season schedule that after two days travelling, will see the players thrown straight into what is sure to be a tough match at Sheffield United on Sunday lunchtime.

Ominously for some players (starting eleven pictured below), the Head Coach said that the good thing about a poor display like this one, was that you found out certain things you otherwise wouldn’t have realised.

Though one player above criticism for sure from McClaren was Rolando Aarons, who created one and scored the other two in the 4-3 defeat.

Steve McClaren talking to NUFC TV:

‘Steve, your overall assessment tonight please?’

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha, yeah…I think it’s been a tough trip, I think we looked tonight like a team who have been on the road and travelling here, there and everywhere for 10 days.

“We didn’t turn up in the first half, the second half – great response from the players but not enough….and it’s one of them that you don’t want it to happen but are please it has, beacuase you learn a lot more about your team.”

steve mcclaren

Losing the ball:

“In the first half we didn’t play football and we didn’t play as a team, we played as individuals. We lost the ball too many times and then of course you are going to get caught defensively.

“Players that we expect to keep the ball, didn’t keep the ball.”

Rolando Aarons:

“He (Rolando Aarons) has done tremendous and he is only a young man but he has done very well on this trip. Started at left-back and was very good, crossed for the first goal (Wijnaldum – watch it HERE) and then moved him forward in the second half, changed things around a little bit.

“Scored two cracking goals and was always a threat, a bright one for the future.

‘Sheffield United on Sunday – a very quick turnaround?’

“Again, yeah. They certainly made the schedule a tough one…but we have to deal with it and we will do,

“It’s a test and we have to pass these tests. We are not quite right and we have to make sure we do the basics right and get on with it. Now we have to recover, two days travel back and ‘look forward’ to Sunday.”

  • 1957

    I am really warming to him, he says it as he sees it and after the Pardew and Carver reigns it’s refreshing to have someone in charge who can control his ego (you have to have one to do he job he does) unlike those previous two.
    We haven’t seen a competitive team on the pitch yet but I do have some hope.

  • Nutisbak2

    Like it, he’s not even trying to make excuses because he knows he selected that team and the buck stops with him, the guys he selected were simply not good enough on the day and need to improve or be released.

    If I am honest on another surface we would have likely played a completely different side and they probably wouldn’t have been half the problem we found them to be.

    A lot of it was down to the surface as it isn’t something players tend to be used to over here plus it’s much faster which means if you have any sort of injury it can highlight it and make it way worse.

    McClarren was right not to play many players and protect them last night, something Pardew and co didn’t do the last time we played on that surface which came back to bite us in the butt with the injury to Hatem Ben Arfa if my memory serves me right.

    If that hadn’t happened then maybe Hatems time at Newcastle might have ended in a completely different way and well who knows he might even be here still, I am sure the lengthy lay offs due to those injury’s cost him mentally (probably some form of depression) and eventually his contract, unfortunately depression is something in the game which isn’t dealt with properly.

  • Nutisbak2

    Looks like we now have that 3rd player Chancel Mbemba a central defender from Anderlecht for around 7 million who has been likened to being like Kompany only better.

    He can play a variety of positions and looks to be the real deal, supposedly Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Barcelona and Bayern Munich were all running the eye over him of late too.

    He also has been in talks with a number of champions league clubs one of which we play in a friendly very shortly.

    So that looks like being 3 down and hopefully at least 3 more to come in, ok maybe now I am just being greedy.

  • DownUnderMag

    The buck stops with whoever organised this trip.  McClaren had to rest players because of a dodgy pitch.  He had to try and assess his squad and sort out the change of plans all while on the road.  Whoever was the bright spark who booked us up for this trip should be sacked.  Surely knowing that we were going to have a new manager in, THIS was the off season to stay in the UK and play local sides to give McClaren more time with his playing squad??  You could make up how badly this club is run at times, but thats what happens when you put non-footballing people in charge of organising football matters.

  • kuromori

    DownUnderMag I’m pretty sure the tour was planned on the assumption that Charva would be in charge, hence the need to get to know the squad wasn’t allowed for.

  • Hughie

    Couldn’t even line up for the photograph with discipline. Amateurish as ever. Only 4 of this lot might start v the Saints–Sissoko, Cisse, Haidara and Wijnaldum. Team Krul, Janmaat, Taylor, Mbemba, Haidara or Dummett, Sissoko, Colback, Wijnaldum, Tiote or Aarons(??) Cisse, Mitrovic. Starting to look like a team if the 3 new lads prove any use?? Hopefully Mac now knows that Gouffy, Ferguson, Bigi, to name but three are not upto it?

  • v0ices

    Nutisbak2 you are not being greedy at all 3 more gives us a squad that should hopefully not end up in the relegation dogfight. If he ends up better than Kompany he may take top spot as  the toons greatest ever defender.

  • Who has that spot at the moment ?

  • valle1

    Toby 9 Woodgate for sure… The best natural defender I have ever seen, if only…

  • v0ices

    valle1 Toby 9 woodgate for me too.

  • NottsToon

    v0ices valle1 Toby 9 Woodgate for me too.

  • TonnekToon

    1957 Can you imagine the post match b*****ks we’d of had from Charver  lol !

  • Steve1221

    Can you imagine the torrent of abuse and completely different headline if Pardew had given that same response

  • Andgeo

    Definitely not Will-I-am-shyte