Why Steve McClaren wasn’t surprised by Newcastle’s woeful performance

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Steve McClaren says he was NOT shocked by Newcastle United’s woeful defeat to Leicester City – as there were “signs” it had been coming.

The club is just a point above the Premier League’s relegation zone after Saturday’s 3-0 loss at St James’s Park.

And there were boos for head coach McClaren and his players at the final whistle.

Newcastle were convincingly beaten by Leicester, who climbed to the top of the league after the match.

United were second-best in almost every department – United legend Alan Shearer described his old team as “woeful, embarrassing and inept” – and McClaren’s management is again under scrutiny.

Asked if the performance “shocked” him, McClaren said: “Actually, I would not say it was a shock.

“We’ve always known what the job is and it is a tough one. We know we’re going to have bad days, and this was certainly one of them.

“We have to recover from that now. That is the key now. Have we recovered before? Yes. We need to do it again.”

McClaren – who refused to talk about the January transfer window after the game – felt the performance laid bare the “problems” that need to be addressed on the training field.

“You can see what our problems are,” he said. “We were 1-0 down, but there were still 50 minutes to go.

“We need to create consistency and know what we are going to get week in, week out. You need to know what level of performance you are going to get and at the moment we do not know that.

“That’s something we are searching for. We’ll have to work very hard on the training pitch to find that.

“The players know what they are capable of and there have been times when they have shown it. We have seen it in the last five or six games, and even by digging in to get the result at Bournemouth.

“They showed a different set of qualities there.

“They know how to do it, but it is hard work doing it, and that is what it takes. Lots of things come into it, but we had collected seven points from the last four games so there were signs.

“But I have been saying all along that it is not that easy, and we’re not at a level yet where we can have a degree of consistency week in, week out.

“At the moment, we do not know what we are going to get. I thought we looked fragile out there.”

Jamie Vardy scored for the 10th game in a row to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Barclays Premier League record and maintain Leicester’s remarkable challenge at the top of the table.

The Foxes forward shook off pre-match concerns over a hip injury and blasted home in first-half stoppage time to move level with ex-Manchester United striker Van Nistelrooy’s streak of scoring in consecutive fixtures.

Leonardo Ulloa laid on the record-equalling effort before heading home himself, and substitute Shinji Okazaki added another as Leicester’s incredible season continued in a 3-0 success over Newcastle at St James’ Park.

It meant Claudio Ranieri’s men moved above lunchtime leaders Manchester United and set up a showdown between the two this week when Vardy can eclipse Van Nistelrooy’s record against the Dutchman’s old employers.