Steve McClaren’s gamble backfires ahead of West Brom
Steve McClaren cut a forlorn figure at the final whistle.
Newcastle’s second half performance had arguably seen them deserve a point, or possibly more in terms of having the clearest chance of the game that Aleksandar Mitrovic missed.
However, the bottom line is that United stay in the bottom three, having failed to score at home and lost the game in the final dramatic seconds.
Steve McClaren though says that he can’t fault his player and he’s never felt so disappointed on behalf of a group of players before.
The Head Coach says that his team gave ‘absolutely everything’ and were ‘crawling off the pitch’ at the end.
Which then brings us arguably the most difficult match of the Christmas period, having to play less than 48 hours later.
Playing on an energy sapping pitch for the second week, Steve McClaren has taken a massive gamble in not even using his substitutes to try and make sure his team are fit for West Brom.
He went to put Thauvin on for Ayoze Perez, only for the Spaniard to carve out a great chance and just put it wide of the post.
The French winger was told to sit back down and was only used in the final three minutes as a replacement for Perez. In comparison, Everton used all three subs and put two of them on with over 20 minutes remaining.
The team had momentum in that second period and Steve McClaren took the gamble of staying with the same 11 in the hope it would be rewarded with points. That proved not to be the case and now it remains to be seen just what condition they are in for Monday.
The failure to use the subs on top of Newcastle having to travel to the Hawthorns, having the teatime slot robbing them of a few hours recovery compared to the Baggies, plus the fact that West Brom are a very ‘robust’, physical and hard working team.
Let’s hope Steve McClaren hasn’t wasted the cards at his disposal and with such a small squad, with players on the bench who he apparently doesn’t trust to perform at the same level as his first eleven, we wait to see what changes if any he feels comfortable making for this vital game on Monday.
“I have lost quite a few games in the last minute…cruel endings, but I’ve never before felt so upset and disappointed for a set of players, than I did when I walked in that dressing room.
“They didn’t deserve that, they gave everything and in the second half they were magnificent.
“We didn’t deserve to lose but that kind of performance bodes well for the future.
“The big thing for us was the fans showed at the end and the players showed what this team can do – we need to do it again on at West Brom.”
“They’ve got to recover, come in Sunday and get ready for Monday, it will be a big test physically and mentally for the players after that because they have given it absolutely everything.
“We talk about crawling off the pitch and they did.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Possession was 41% Newcastle and 59% Everton
Total shots was 10 for Newcastle and Everton 20
Shots on target was Newcastle 1 and Everton 7
While corners was Newcastle 3 and Everton 7
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Dummett, Colback, Anita, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Perez (Thauvin 87), Mitrovic
Unused Subs: Darlow, Mbabu, Gouffran, Tiote, de Jong, Toney
Ref: Lee Mason
(To view the player ratings by fans and to add your own go HERE)
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