Saturday 24 February 2018

Winless Newcastle are not in crisis, insists McClaren

Newcastle 1 Watford 2

Daryl JanMaat and Florian Thauvin of Newcastle push Ben Watson of Watford from the pitch as he takes his time being substituted
Daryl JanMaat and Florian Thauvin of Newcastle push Ben Watson of Watford from the pitch as he takes his time being substituted
Chancel Mbemba of Newcastle tackles Troy Deeney of Watford

Damian Spellman

Steve McClaren insisted that his Newcastle side were not in crisis after seeing them booed off the pitch following another defeat that extended their winless opening to the league season to six games.

McClaren said: "I can understand the fans' reaction. We are just turning things around and I think the majority understand that. Like we have said to the boys in the dressing room, it's not a crisis, it's not a time to panic - it's too early, and we'd never do that anyway.

"We are going to get a lot of criticism and that can be flying from not just media but also fans, and in that dressing room we have got to stay tight, we have got to stay calm, we have got to stick together.

"I am under no illusions, this is a hard job - everybody knew that. You want proof, we've got proof. But we have got the experience in the backroom staff to deal with this and turn it around."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, meanwhile, is delighted that striker Odio Ighalo decided to turn his back on summer offers after seeing him shoot down the Magpies.

The Nigeria international's first-half double set the Hornets on their way to a second successive win, and Flores was thrilled at not only his efforts, but those of his entire team.

Flores explained: "He took a decision two months ago to stay here at Watford - he had offers from other teams. He is a very important player.

"But I like to talk about the full squad because they are fighting like heroes every single week, they are playing really, really well. They try to improve every time and give the best they have, so it's not only one man. It was a very good performance from the whole squad."

Ighalo took the game away from Newcastle within 28 minutes when he capitalised on some woeful defending to put them ahead after just 10 minutes and then effectively seal the win.

Daryl Janmaat gave the Magpies hope when he pulled one back with 28 minutes remaining - and he tested goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with a 67th-minute piledriver. It was the Magpies' first league goal in 464 minutes of football - but it was not enough to prevent them extending a desperate record of just one win in 17 outings dating back to last season.

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