Wijnaldum concerned that Newcastle just aren’t capitalising on chances created

Newcastle's Paul Dummett reaches high to deny Peter Crouch in Saturday's 0-0 draw
Newcastle's Paul Dummett reaches high to deny Peter Crouch in Saturday's 0-0 draw
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Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s problems in front of goal are giving him a fright.

The club was held to a goalless draw on Halloween by Stoke City.

Steve McClaren’s side created a string of chances at St James’s Park on Saturday.

But impressive goalkeeper Jack Butland was equal to those shots that were on target.

And Newcastle – who also drew a blank in the Wear-Tyne derby – remain in the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of this Saturday’s crucial visit to 17th-placed Bournemouth.

Wijnaldum, the Tynesiders’ leading scorer with four goals, insists that he is not unduly worried by the Magpies’ position.

But the summer signing is concerned that the team is struggling to convert the chances that it is creating.

Half of Newcastle’s 12 goals came in the 6-2 home win against Norwich City last month – Wijnaldum scored four of them – and if that result is stripped out, the statistics from the other 10 games are startling.

Asked if he was relaxed or worried, summer signing Wijnaldum said: “I’m not worried.

“I just enjoy football and I still have faith and confidence that we’ll be alright.

“The only thing that makes me slightly nervous is that we are not scoring goals, and to win games you have to score. That’s what I’m not happy about.

“We kept a clean sheet and that’s a positive, and we didn’t give very many chances away.

“Defensively we were good, but to win games you have to score and that’s what we haven’t been doing in the last few games. That’s the only thing I’m not happy about.”

Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the post with a first-half header, while Butland denied Moussa Sissoko and late substitute Jamaal Lascelles among others after the break.

And Wijnaldum has conceded that the team must improve its finishing.

“The whole of the team is frustrated, and I’m sure the fans are too,” he said. “We had a lot of opportunities to win and score a goal, but unfortunately we couldn’t take them.

“I don’t think the finishing was always very good, and then there were a few chances where the keeper made very good saves.

“We have to be fair about that. He made some really good saves, but there were times when we should have done better.

Wijnaldum, signed from PSV Eindhoven in the summer, knows that United must start taking their chances sooner rather than later given the club’s position in the league. “I’m happy that we’re still creating chances, and if we weren’t doing that it would be more worrying,” said the 24-year-old.

“That’s a good thing and maybe we just need a bit of luck to get us going. I still have faith it will come, but you want it right now because it’s important we start winning games.

“We’re standing pretty low in the ranking, and that needs to change. Sometimes it can take time, and there are positive things in the team as well.

“We have to remain relaxed and trust that it will happen.”

Newcastle were dominant against Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby until Fabricio Coloccini’s dismissal in first-half injury time. “We had chances (against Sunderland) as well and couldn’t score,” said Wijnaldum.

“Sunderland took their chances when it came, and if you score goals you make it easier for yourselves in games. The hardest part is always scoring the first goal. If you do that, you often find that more will come..”

Newcastle: Elliot, Janmaat (Lascelles 83), Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Anita, Tiote (De Jong 71), Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Perez. Subs not used: Cisse, Gouffran, Haidara, Thauvin, Woodman. Booked: Mitrovic.

Stoke: Butland, Johnson, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters, Adam, Whelan, Shaqiri (Crouch 90), Krkic (Afellay 60), Arnautovic (van Ginkel 89), Walters. Subs not used: Ireland, Wilson, Diouf, Haugaard. Booked: Wollscheid, Arnautovic, Adam.

Att: 47,139. Ref: Roger East (Wiltshire).