Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s players – and NOT Steve McClaren – must take the blame for the relegation-threatened club’s predicament.
Wijnaldum netted in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Liverpool at St James’s Park. The midfielder – who McClaren had considered leaving out before the match – also forced Martin Skrtel’s own goal.
It’s not fair every time, especially not in our case, because I think for this club he’s the best that we can get right now.
McClaren had been under intense pressure in the build-up to the game after back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
Bookmakers had installed the club’s head coach as the favourite to be the Premier League’s next managerial casualty.
But the odds on the 54-year-old being sacked lengthened after the Liverpool win, which lifted the club above Sunderland.
And Wijnaldum feels criticism of McClaren – whose side are level on points with 17th-placed Bournemouth – was “not fair”.
“I didn’t know that there was talk about the trainer’s future,” said Wijnaldum.
“But I don’t think it’s the fault of the trainer that we perform badly.
“I think it’s the fault of the players. But that’s the thing in football – sometimes when things go bad everyone says the trainer is responsible for that.
“It’s not fair every time, especially not in our case, because I think for this club he’s the best that we can get right now.
“I hope that the club will give him the faith and keep him here. I hope they do that, but I didn’t know there were complaints about him.
“We fought especially for the team and not just the trainer.”
Wijnaldum says there were some “honest” discussions at Newcastle’s training ground in the wake of the club’s s 5-1 loss to Palace at Selhurst Park.
“You have to be honest,” said the summer signing.
“If you want to go further and stand higher in the rankings, you have to be honest with each other.
“Sometimes it’s hard to be honest, but the thing is you have to be honest with the team, because then you will go forward.”
The result result has set United up for an important period.
Newcastle take on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday, and the club entertains basement club Aston Villa on December 19.
And wins – not goals – are all-important to Wijnaldum, whose goal tally for the season stands at seven.
“I always have the faith and the confidence that I will make and score goals because everywhere when I play I have,” said Wijnaldum.
“But for me I don’t care if I score or don’t score in some games.
“I just want to win, especially when we’re in this kind of situation we’re in. So I think in this situation, you don’t think about yourself – you must think about the team.
“If you can help the team with goals then this is good, but if I don’t score and we win then I am happy also.”