Sunday 18 August 2019

Steve McClaren urges Mike Ashley not to hit the Newcastle panic button

Steve McClaren, pictured, hopes to retain the backing of Newcastle's board for the club's Premier League relegation battle
Steve McClaren, pictured, hopes to retain the backing of Newcastle's board for the club's Premier League relegation battle

Steve McClaren hopes Mike Ashley will back him to the hilt so he can command the dressing-room respect to win Newcastle's relegation dogfight.

The Newcastle manager admitted fears he may struggle to spark a response from his players after his midweek training ground rant only ended in a 5-1 thrashing at Crystal Palace.

McClaren unleashed some home truths following Newcastle's 3-0 loss to Leicester at St James' Park, only for his side to capitulate spectacularly at Selhurst Park.

Now McClaren accepts only a united front at board level will allow him to arrest Newcastle's slide into the relegation mire, calling on "peer pressure" to take its grip among his squad.

"I think that's the key thing, that there's no panic," said McClaren when asked if continued backing from Newcastle's board would prove pivotal to Premier League survival.

"If there were eight games to go then people would, but we're not.

"And that's where experience tells. We know we're doing the right things every day, we know we're doing the right things, I know through experience.

"Everybody knows and everybody can see that. In time that will turn around and work, at the present moment it's not, we're having huge disappointments that I hope will toughen us up and make us stronger in the long run."

Yannick Bolasie and James McArthur both bagged a brace with Wilfried Zaha also on target as Palace hammered hapless Newcastle.

Papiss Cisse opened the scoring but the visitors crumbled after McArthur's deflected leveller, with former Tyneside boss Alan Pardew putting one over his old club.

McClaren was forced to accept he may not be able to read his players the riot act too often if the sole fruit is to slip deeper into trouble.

"Yeah it does, it makes it harder," said McClaren, when quizzed on whether another heavy loss leads him to question his faith in the ability to generate a reaction from his players.

"But you just hope that every bad game, every bad result just makes them stronger in the end.

"The players have to learn quickly. The players aren't doing it for each other at the moment.

"Sometimes it's not about me, it's about each other. And that's a team.

"When you're playing, you've been a coach or a manager, the dressing room is about peer pressure. It's about pride, working for each other and not letting down the man next to you.

"At the present moment we've not got that."

McClaren refused to discuss his January transfer window plans, insisting plotting mid-season signings would still be premature at this stage.

"Well we can't do that," said McClaren.

"At the present moment the next games, Liverpool, then Spurs, then after that then after that - we've got games before January.

"And we need to get to work and start winning games. We're in a relegation battle, and we've got to make sure that we're right into that.

"The players lose heart easily: it's not rocket science, everyone can see it and that's what's happening.

"We're getting setbacks and we're not reacting well enough, and that's what we need to turn around. The players have their own individual motivation and we have to draw that out.

"We have to stay calm, keep doing the right things and keep delivering the right messages and keep saying 'you've got to do this, you've got to do that'.

"We lose when we stop doing our jobs when disappointment hits us. We can't have that: you've got to keep, keep, keep, keep, keep doing your job."

PA Media

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