Newcastle United were denied a delayed kick-off at Upton Park last night by the Premier League.
Steve McClaren and his players arrived at the stadium less than an hour before they were due to face West Ham United.
The team bus had got stuck in heavy traffic in east London, and the club asked referee Anthony Taylor if it would be possible to put the kick-off back to allow the players time to warm-up.
But the request, referred to the league, was denied, and the team had a brief 10-minute warm-up before the game, which was being televised across the world.
Two goals from Dimitri Payet gave West Ham a comfortable 2-0 win – and the result saw Sunderland and Stoke City overtake McClaren’s team, who now prop up the division with five games played.
While McClaren refused to use their delayed arrival as an excuse, he was frustrated that the kick-off wasn’t put back.
“We weren’t warming up until 7.40pm, and preparation is key with everything,” said McClaren.
“We felt the preparation wasn’t long enough, and we asked for the start to be delayed. I’ve been in football long enough, and it’s usually permitted.
“But it wasn’t and we had to deal with that.
“I think it was the Premier League that made that call, but it’s no excuse.”
Newcastle lacked discipline and organisation, and defender Daryl Janmaat and substitute Siem de Jong were the only two players to test West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
“We didn’t do what we had been doing for four games,” said McClaren. “In terms of organisation, discipline, defending well and being hard to beat – which we had been for four games – we lacked all of that.
“The goals were poor and we shot ourselves in the foot, especially with the second one.
“We huffed and puffed, but this is a learning process and we’ve learned a lot from tonight.”