McClaren: Newcastle won’t wallow after festive struggles

Date published: Thursday 31st December 2015 1:00

Steve McClaren: Looking ahead to Arsenal clash

Steve McClaren has ordered his Newcastle players not to wallow after a bruising Christmas programme left them back in relegation trouble.

The Magpies looked to be heading in the right direction after they beat Liverpool and Tottenham in successive games at the start of December.

However, fixtures against bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa, Everton and West Brom since have yielded just a single point and they are now back in the bottom three ahead of an intensely difficult trip to current Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday.

Asked if the roller-coaster nature of recent weeks had proved sapping, head coach McClaren replied: “Sapping is a good word. That’s what we have got to try and keep away from and keep the mentality strong, keep trying to talk about the positives.

“We can’t wallow in defeat and don’t celebrate too hard in victory because the next one is just around the corner. We have always moved on quickly.

“After Everton, I was very, very worried about the response of the players and how they would be, especially in the first 20 minutes. But we started fantastically [at West Brom] and it never looked like they had lost belief. They carried on playing and playing good football.

“Unfortunately, we just got done by one moment and it was very disappointing. But we are professionals and we have to bounce back.”

Newcastle reached the halfway point in the season with just 17 points to show for their efforts and two shy of safety, a situation which is way short of expectations after a £52million-plus summer investment programme.

However, McClaren, despite the scepticism of some onlookers, is confident progress has been made, and that his young side is battling.

He said: “That’s what they have been doing – but there has not been much reward over the last three games. We have got to continue that, stick together and be strong.

“It’s a long season. That is the first half over, we have a little break, review it, and get ready for the second half in the New Year.”

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