Steve McClaren is a big one for positive thinking and interesting to see this runs right through the club, down to the Academy Under 18s Coach, Dave Watson.
From as far back as his Middlesbrough days, McClaren has employed people to work on the mental side of the game, with now Steve Black back at St James Park in that role.
Despite the first team being rock bottom, the Head Coach talks up the team with a positive spin, such as this weekend wanting to talk about how good Newcastle were in the first half and then try to gloss over to a large extent, the fact that the final score was 6-1 and United are rock bottom of the league.
This kind of attitude has its place but it can be taken to extremes.
On Saturday, it wasn’t just the first team that were getting turned over, the Newcastle United Under 18s were also finding life tough, with their latest defeat a 2-0 loss at home to Blackburn.
This is what the NUFC Under 18s Coach Dave Watson had to say afterwards:
“I thought the lads were excellent and you can see that they are improving week by week.
“We have had a few heavy defeats but we’ve kept going and we’ve managed to put in a much improved, solid performance against one of the league’s in-form sides.
“The overall performance from the entire team was of a standard we should be expecting. We set standards that we try to reach every week and sometimes we don’t quite reach those standards, but I think we did today, despite the result.”
“Quite a few of the lads worked really hard and put in some really big performances today which is what we like to see,
“You could see the amount of pace we have in the team but you could also see we have those players who can play that killer pass and open up defences, which is promising.
“The main thing is that our attitude has been fantastic all season. Even when results haven’t been going our way the lads have remained positive, which helps us going into the next game.”
I know with the younger teams that winning isn’t everything but it surely does play some kind of part in the expectations at a football club and how you judge the quality and progression of younger players coming through.
To put Dave Watson’s comments into perspective, his Newcastle United Under 18s side has played eight games this season, winning one, drawing one and losing six.
They are currently 12th of 12 in the Premier League (North) division.
Before Saturday’s defeat to Blackburn, the three previous results had read:
Middlesbrough 4 Newcastle 1
Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3
Liverpool 4 Newcastle 1
The thing is as well that these kind of results, same with the reserves (and first team!), are simply a continuation of what was happening last season (11 wins in 72 games this calendar year, read more here).
Surely at some point it has to be acknowledged that getting stuffed by Sunderland and Middlesbrough (as well as other lower league set-ups such as Blackburn and Wolves) can’t be a good thing?
Yes the coaches such as Dave Watson should be encouraging the kids but at the same time there has to be questions asked as to why the Newcastle teams are performing so badly right throughout the club.
Why are the younger players at Newcastle not as good as those elsewhere and most importantly, what is being done to change this?
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