Steve McClaren has read the riot act to Newcastle United’s players after a winless start to the campaign.
The Magpies have picked up only two draws from five Premier League games, and prop up the table following Monday’s dismal 2-0 defeat at West Ham.
McClaren chose his words carefully in his post-match Press conference at Upton Park, though he was highly critical of the “organisation, discipline and defending” of his team. But the head coach did not hold back in the dressing room, where he tore into his players.
McClaren was unhappy with the team individually and collectively on a night where little went right for his new-look Newcastle side, whose target is a top-eight finish.
And the players were told the team’s performance was unacceptable.
McClaren now expects a reaction against newly-promoted Watford at St James’s Park tomorrow.
Newcastle were found wanting at both ends of the pitch at Upton Park.
There were some familiar defensive failings, while the team, worryingly, have not scored in four league games.
Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic remains suspended, but McClaren is toying with the idea of fielding Ayoze Perez up front.
Perez won praise from McClaren for his performance off the bench against West Ham, and Papiss Cisse’s place is under threat after his poor performance.
Forward Siem de Jong is also pushing for a start against newly-promoted Watford, who climbed up to 13th place after beating Swansea City last weekend.
And winger Rolando Aarons, yet to start a league game for Newcastle, is another option for McClaren, who felt some of the players let the club down at Upton Park.
McClaren, however, does not expect to have any players back from injury, though Paul Dummett is close to a return.
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores has warned Valon Behrami not to repeat the reckless challenge on Andre Ayew which earned him a straight red card in last week’s 1-0 win over Swansea.
Swiss midfielder Behrami is suspended for his side’s trip to Newcastle. The former West Ham player is joined on the sidelines by Miguel Britos who is also suspended for the St James’s Park clash, but Flores does not expect any further new injury concerns.