A miserable 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge for the Newcastle fans and as well as disappointment at the defeat, Gini Wijnaldum was baffled by Steve McClaren’s decision making.
Going in three down at the interval, the Head Coach took off this season’s top scorer and replaced him with the more defensive Jack Colback.
Asked why he was taken off, Wijnaldum said that he didn’t know and that it was for Steve McClaren to answer that question.
Superficially it might appear Newcastle did a little better in the second half, conceding ‘only’ two and actually scoring one of their own in the final seconds.
However, Chelsea already had the game won and just eased through the second 45 minutes with their Champions League game against PSG on Tuesday in mind, plus making sustitutions of their own to give fringe players time on the pitch.
Wijnaldum was no better or worse than pretty much every other away match this season, anonymous all but for one chance he should have buried when Daryl Janmaat crossed from the right, the former PSV midfielder hitting a weak shot straight at the keeper from only 10 yards out.
What purpose it served making that change at half-time is anybody’s guess, though it certainly wasn’t an attempt to try and get back into the game!
If changes were to made to the team then surely before kick-off was the time but Steve McClaren bottled both.
Leaving Rolando Aarons at left-back was an abysmal decision when he now had Lascelles and Colback available.
Whilst he needed to decide on whether to make a change on Wijnaldum and away match tactics before he named his starting eleven, not after the horse had bolted (or before he had the chance to attach a cart or something, according to Mike Ashley…).
“I don’t know….this is something you must ask the manager – I think it’s his job to answer this question and not mine.
“I don’t know (why Newcastle were so poor), we didn’t start well and they scored three in I don’t know how many minutes…
“Then it didn’t seem possible to win.
“That is what happened and that is why we made it easier for them – it is hard.”