Delighted McClaren hails super Shelvey
Newcastle 2-1 West Ham Utd
Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30
This was like watching two old friends, who have drifted apart, being reunited and finally remembering the good times they once had together. After months of waiting, Steve McClaren might just have found a team that Newcastle United supporters can love again.
Newcastle have made a habit of letting their fans down under owner Mike Ashley, but the way the crowd responded to the team here bodes well.
The win lifted the Magpies out of the bottom three, but more importantly it provided timely evidence to back up McClaren's persistent claims they are improving. This was only their fifth Premier League win of the season, but it was easily their best performance.
There were excellent performances all over the pitch including the new £12 million signing Jonjo Shelvey, who impressed on debut, while the Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum, who has turned into one the best attacking midfielders in the country, scored Newcastle's second goal and combined with Shelvey to set up Ayoze Perez's opener.
"We said in the summer that he (Shelvey) was the type of midfield player that we wanted, and we're delighted that we've got him now," McClaren said. "We saw his quality in the two passes he made for the goals."
The one negative for Shelvey is the prospect of retrospective action being taken by the FA after he smashed his shoulder into Enner Valencia, who fell to the ground. Shelvey claimed afterwards that it was merely "a coming together" although the FA has confirmed that it is waiting for the referee's report before deciding whether to look into the incident.
Although they pulled a goal back at the start of the second half through substitute Nikica Jelavic, West Ham were sluggish and sloppy. They could not match Newcastle's energy although they were denied an equaliser late on, when Rob Elliot kept out a Cheikhou Kouyate's header.