I hope Steve McClaren has been whispering a few words in the ears of the Newcastle United players this week.
The key words being; ‘Attack’, ‘Discipline’, ‘Goals’.
Never mind Newcastle’s record at Old Trafford, just have a look at this dirty (half) dozen….
Swansea 2-0 Janmaat sent off
Leicester 3-0 Williamson & Janmaat sent off
Liverpool 2-0 Sissoko sent off
Everton 3-0 Colocconi sent off
So in the last half dozen (the one before was a 5-0 defeat at Man City) away games, Newcastle have this record:
Goals for 1
Goals against 13
Red cards 5
Steve McClaren can only claim any ‘credit’ for one of those six games but the fact remains, the players have become an undisciplined unprofessional rabble at away matches.
Little to enterprise or teamwork, then prone to petulant red cards as their frustration exceeds their responsibility to the club and the fans.
It is coming to something when you approach an away match thinking that if we can keep all the players on the pitch and put in a respectable losing performance, it almost represents relative success.
You have to feel sorry for Steve McClaren in being handed some of the cards he has been dealt but he now faces a massive job of instilling a different mentality, both in trying to get a result (a goal would be a start) and ending the match with 11 players.
Through a mixture of suspension, injury and lack of form, we may have the calming presence of Cheick Tiote and/or Aleksandar Mitrovic added to the mix today – both players with an abysmal record when it comes to discipline.
Here’s hoping the players put up plenty fight today but channel it into confounding the critics.
(To feature like John, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])