Steve McClaren says Aleksandar Mitrovic is excellent – apart from in the box
Aleksandar Mitrovic failed once again to get on the score sheet at Vicarage Road.
The Newcastle striker failing to add to the disappointing return of four goals so far in his Newcastle career.
However, Steve McClaren says that he still thinks Mitrovic is getting better and better, with the responsibility for scoring goals down to his team-mates as well.
Ironic when you take into account that Ayoze Perez is second top scorer with five goals despite playing generally in a more withdrawn role on the left, yet he was dropped on Saturday after scoring a superb goal against West Ham.
The Newcastle Head Coach thinks that his centre-forward’s contribution has been excellent everywhere else but in the box, something which is true up to a point but little comfort when you are in the relegation zone.
By leaving Perez out on Saturday, you could argue that McClaren piled even more pressure on Mitrovic.
Where else were goals going to come from? Wijnaldum obviously is top scorer but once again went missing on an away trip and contributed very little, still to score a goal away from home.
Even the unexpected bonus of a goal from a corner wasn’t enough to save United.
Steve McClaren says that confidence for forwards comes from putting the ball in the back of the net and the overwhelming feeling amongst Newcastle fans is that the Serbian striker desperately needs help up front – with a failure to buy a forward in this window potentially fatal.
“I thought outside the box he (Mitrovic) was excellent.
“He is really improving, a real fighter for us. A focal point and a target, someone that we need in the team because he brings other players into play and then we have got runners going through.”
“It is not one man’s responsibility to put the ball in the back of the net, it is other people’s as well.
“He is young, he is growing, he is getting better, a lot better than he was at the start of the season.
“Strikers – their confidence comes from sticking the ball in the net.”
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