Well, who didn’t predict that? Another away defeat and another nail in our Championship coffin on Wednesday night.
Following on from my criticism this week on our jolly (Sorry, warm weather training) to La Manga and the subsequent remarks from all and sundry who attended, trying in vain to paint a positive picture of it. I can honestly say that if Newcastle United players were intent on showing fans and media that they mean business in the final 12 games, then something was lost in translation.
While we are on about language and translation, once again we have the one man gob****e that is Steve McClaren.
We all knew that Alan Pardew was an expert at saying what was needed to appease the owner and give a positive twist on what had happened over 90 minutes. However, now we have someone in Steve McClaren who surely can’t look at himself in the mirror and actually believe what he’s saying, or what Steve Black has told him to say…lord knows the players can’t.
“We didn’t deserve that.
“Jack Butland has become a bit of a curse this season for us. Four magnificent saves at St James’ and one at the end there which denied us a point. That’s the difference at the present moment.”
No Steve, the difference is that a point shouldn’t be championed, lifted above heads like some silverware.
I’ve always been of the philosophy that you don’t knock an away point in the Premier League, but you don’t set your stall out to play for it, because as we have seen umpteen times this year, you don’t get it. As for Butland, he’s had 9 shots on target this season to content with from our lot over two games (3 last night and 6 at St James Park) and Steve feels hard done by?
There’s more . . .
“The last 18 days, we talked a lot about what we need to do and I think we started that process tonight in terms of attitude, workrate and becoming harder to beat. I thought we were very organised, very disciplined.”
‘Harder to beat?’ Excuse me?
Stoke away can be added to Chelsea (5-1) Everton (3-0) Watford (2-1) Arsenal (1-0) West Brom (1-0) and Crystal Palace (5-1). I can only recall the home game against Everton where I genuinely felt aggrieved at the 93rd minute defeat, but even that was offset by the 93rd minute winner we got a week earlier at Spurs.
“If you had seen the performance at Chelsea compared to this evening…(it’s) most definitely (an improvement). I thought there were good individual performances, a good team performance, you could see there was a determination, a work-rate for each other and a spirit there.”
Oh goodie. Rejoicing at not being tonked 5-1 again. Sadly he’s right on the improvement, but praising the performance will get you nowhere but the Championship.
Anyone attached to a side that has been entrenched in the bottom five since September last year, can’t calmly state that things will improve and that we ‘deserve’ anything but relegation.
Many media outlets have held polls and asked should Steve McClaren be sacked, but sadly, whilst I do believe he should have been dispensed with during the recent break to give us optimum time to affect change, I fear now it’s too late.
We simply don’t have enough room to maneuver ourselves free of relegation. The pack of eight teams that could have been relegated a month or so ago, have been reduced to four and one of them went through the trapdoor months ago.
It’s a straight fight (term used laughingly) between ourselves, Sunderland and Norwich and we play BOTH of them. We have to target games which we stand some sort of chance in; Sunderland (h) Norwich (a) Swansea (h) Crystal Palace (h) Aston Villa (a) and first up on Saturday, Bournemouth at St James Park. Fail to beat Bournemouth and I fear the game could be up.
You can’t flirt with relegation for three out of four years and not expect to eventually match up with it. Every club that does, eventually gets their date. The years of underfunded rubbish and mismanaged talent won’t go unpunished, even though many teams over the last few seasons have tried their level best to keep poor sides like Newcastle and Sunderland in the division year after year. You can’t deliberately aspire to mediocrity and be amazed and surprised the one time it doesn’t come to fruition and you fall flat on your face.
Talking about aspirations, a final word from Steve McClaren:
“The likes of West Brom and Stoke have stabilised and done it well and that’s the example we should be looking at . . .”
A line that should strike fear into Newcastle fans everywhere . . .
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