Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle were NOT united as a team against Leicester City – and that’s why they lost.
Steve McClaren’s side were convincingly beaten 3-0 at St James’s Park on Saturday.
McClaren and his players were booed at the final whistle by angry fans unhappy with the the team’s abject performance.
And the result has left the club just a point above the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s game against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace – who take on Sunderland tonight – at Selhurst Park.
McClaren was “mad” in the dressing room after the game, according to Wijnaldum, who felt United played as “individuals”, not as a team.
By contrast, Leicester – who top the league – selflessly worked for each other.
I am a key player to this team, and I must do way better than I did. I was disappointed.Georginio Wijnaldum
“We have worked hard as a team, but it was too many individuals,” said the midfielder, who was moved into a defensive role after injury forced off Cheick Tiote.
“And if you do that you can see the problems.
“The manager was also mad. We have had good games which we didn’t win, but it was disappointing (against Leicester).
“You can play games badly – we are human – but you must always work to get the result. We played as individuals, so you don’t get the result. We must play more as a team.”
Wijnaldum, Newcastle’s leading scorer this season with six goals, has been given a free role on the left in recent weeks.
But his switch inside after Tiote’s withdrawal – Florian Thauvin replaced the defensive midfielder – saw him rein in his attacking instincts and play a disciplined role.
“It’s difficult,” said the 25-year-old. “First half, I played on the left side and I was free to walk where I want.
“Because of the injury to Cheicky, I had to move inside more. It’s not like I can’t play there, but it is difficult for me because I have the quality to make goals in an advanced person.
“If a manager wants you to play in a position, you play there.
“Of course, I am one of the players who has to help the team. I am disappointed in myself because I want to help the team and get a better performance.
“I am a key player to this team, and I must do way better than I did. I was disappointed.
“I must still be creative and help the team. (On Saturday) we have a game, and I will try to be better than.”
Wijnaldum was due to play for Holland against Germany in Hannover last week, but the international friendly was cancelled 90 minutes before kick-off because of a bomb threat in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“Of course, it was difficult for the players because of terrorism,” said Wijnaldum, signed from PSV Eindhoven in the summer.
“It (kick-off time) was coming really close, and that is difficult for the players.
“For me, it was difficult because normally it is far from you. You see things in Afganistan, but the first one was in Paris.
“Then they said something the game I should have played. It was a little buit scary, but you go on with you life and after that you try not to think of it any more.
“Then I came back here and try to play football again.”
Meanwhile, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was full of praise for Jamie Vardy, who has scored in his last 10 league games.
Vardy’s first-half strike against Newcastle saw him equal a record held by Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The striker could break the record against Manchester United at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
“It will be another great moment playing against such a big team,” said Ranieri.
“The team is working very hard to help Jamie, but he is also working very hard to help the rest of the team.
“He is not the kind of forward who will just stand still and waiting for the right ball. He will attack the space and press hard, and that helps all his team-mates. That’s why I am so happy with him.
“It is important that my other strikers (Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki) scored goals.
“If I have a lot of strikers who are scoring goals. I can change things like I did. The fact all three scored is so good for the team.
“How we play depends on the match. We can keep possession of the ball, or we can counter attack. My players know the situation very well.
“I am Italian so you know when we have a clean sheet. I am very, very happy.”