Steve McClaren reflected on Sunday’s match, declaring that it looked as though Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba had ‘played together forever’.
The United boss also pointing out that not only had the two defenders never played together before, but that between them they only had Mbemba’s brief appearance against Borussia Monchegladbach in terms of minutes on the pitch, in the seven NUFC pre season friendlies.
Whilst at times they both looked the part, McClaren must surely be concerned at Newcastle’s inability to defend balls in the air, with both goals coming from headers.
In the last quarter of an hour we also saw Southampton get on top and Sadio Mane easily cut through the United defence twice, failing to score the winner on both occasions after doing all of the hard work.
The Newcastle Head Coach though made allowances for this, saying that the lack of pre season time on the pitch was always going to lead to tired legs in the later stages.
McClaren even included Newcastle’s first signing of the summer as not being at his peak due to arriving on Tyneside relatively ‘late’ in the window.
The United boss will have a lot to take out of this game but as Alan Shearer pointed out:
“A few positives for Newcastle but defence still a worry!”
United still looking as though they could do with a big dominant centre-back and Haidara also looking weak at times throughout the game when it came to defending, which is after all what he’s primarily there for.
“I thought Mbemba – he’s played 25 minutes last week, not trained with us, Colo the same, but it looked like they’d played together forever – so we have to build on that.
“Wijnaldum – what a terrific goal. I haven’t seen him score with his head like that for a long long time. Again, he’s joined us late.”
Epitomised what we are trying to do:
“Their first chance they scored, we came back and I thought the second goal epitomised what we are trying to get the team to do, a terrific goal.
“Then we controlled the game but towards the end we…typical of this crowd, they want you to go for the winner and fatigue had set in, players out there who had played no minutes at all and you could see that. In the end we hung on for the point and a lot of positives.”
Steve McClaren also strayed a little into Alan Pardew territory when he declared; ‘Typical of this crowd – they want you to go for the winner’, read his other post-match comments HERE.