Saturday 1 October 2016

Newcastle coach Steve McClaren: "Great" win has answered critics

Published 13/12/2015 | 20:56

Steve McClaren's Newcastle side are now three places above the relegation zone
Steve McClaren's Newcastle side are now three places above the relegation zone

Steve McClaren hailed a "fantastic" Newcastle display after a last-minute goal against high-flying Tottenham earned his side back-to-back wins for the first time since Alan Pardew was in charge in November 2014.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic came off the bench to cancel out Eric Dier's first-half opener before his fellow substitute Ayoze Perez netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner as the Magpies moved two points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

McClaren, whose team also defeated Liverpool last weekend, said: " I thought the players were fantastic today. It's answered the critics we have had over last four weeks and it was a great performance in the second half and a great result.

"We have asked for consistency and the last two weeks they have provided that and it has brought everyone closer together.

"We kind of lost something in the international break and it's taken us two weeks to get that."

Newcastle conceded five minutes before half-time and the 54-year-old manager said his dressing room at the break was so loud with the players rallying around each other that it made him proud as he could hardly get a word in.

"There have been so many times when I have gone in at half-time and the dressing room has been silent," he said.

"I was angry at the goal but the players were fabulous at half-time.

"It was so vocal, such a determination in the players not to go down the same path as they usually do.

"They took it on board, we haven't had back-to-back wins for over a year and to do it was immense.

"You can talk and talk but to see them do it on the pitch is great."

While the Magpies are now three places above the relegation zone, McClaren is well aware that there is a lot more to do in order for the side to stay up.

"In football you are only one week from going back down and we have to make sure we don't do that," he said.

"There is still a long way to go and it's a very important game next week against [Aston] Villa."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was understandably disappointed after seeing his side lose for only the second time in the Premier League this season - describing it as a "bad night".

Tottenham had not been beaten in the league since their opening match at Manchester United in August and a win would have seen them go above Louis van Gaal's side into fourth place.

He said: "One nil up always gives the opponents the chance to come back into the game.

"We lost concentration and made easy mistakes, we started to give the opponents the belief they can win the game.

"The chances that we conceded were easy for Newcastle, we need to analyse the game.

"Our first half was fantastic and our second half we need to analyse - I want to see the game again."

The Argentinian is not worried about his team's ability despite the result, and believes they still have what it takes after boos were heard echoing around White Hart Lane at the final whistle.

He added: "(Am I) concerned? No. In football you can always improve.

"After the first half we were happy in the stadium but in the second half it was not the same, it was a bad night for us."

Tottenham have one of the youngest teams in the Premier League with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Dier all under 23.

Pochettino has fielded the youngest side in the division this season but he does not believe that their age has anything to do with the loss to Newcastle.

"If you want to play for the top the pressure is top but it is not about the age, the first half was one of the best we have played, we are disappointed in the end result," he added.

Press Association

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