Clear skies over St James’ Park are a rarity these days. And it has been so since the start of 2015. The Magpies have won just 4 times this calendar year and bringing in former England manager Steve McClaren in the summer hasn’t helped turning the tide.
The Toons reached a new low last night in front of their home fans as they were dumped by lowly side Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup. The win against Northampton in the previous round remains McClaren’s only victory in eight attempts this season
Wednesday who lie 14th in the Championship fielded a second string side with manager Carlos Carvalhal making 10 changes. This does goes on to show Newcastle’s mediocrity with McClaren fielding regulars apart from strikers Aleksandar Mitrovic and Papiss Cisse who were both unavailable. Young Ayoze Perez started on the bench.
McClaren was booed at the final whistle. Under his tutelage, Newcastle have now lost four games in a row and currently lie 19th in the Premier League standings having just 2 points from 6 games. They host Chelsea in the weekend and the signs are ominous.
McClaren seemed crestfallen over his team’s repeated failures. He said, “I’m angry, disappointed. The longer the game went on there was a nervousness around the stadium, on the pitch.” The midfield against Sheffield was in disarray, players failing to keep possession by stringing passes together and looking confused over their given roles on the pitch.
Perhaps, the only encouraging sign for McClaren this season was securing a draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford last month when the back four and goalkeeper Tim Krul bailed the side out on numerous occasions. Since then, it has been an absolute disaster.
Despite such wretched performances on the pitch, the Magpies being in the top ten bracket of the best supported clubs across Europe speaks volumes of the vociferous support. The club required proper guidance post the Alan Pardew era but it seems they haven’t yet found a manager who can mould the team on the pitch.
McClaren had a decent transfer window bringing in the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Georginio Wijnaldum and Florian Thauvin but has failed to get the best out of his players. The back four comprising of Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba have failed to defend as a unit while Steven Taylor has been ruled out for eight weeks. The midfield too look out of ideas with players filling in like square pegs in round holes.
With Chelsea and Manchester City next and NoRwich City sandwiched between the Tyne-Wear derby, the coming weeks poses a certain challenge for McClaren. It might not be long before Mike Ashley cracks the whip.