NEWCASTLE United will go back to school in the transfer market – and do more homework on signings.
The club is planning a summer overhaul of a squad which has again been found wanting this season.
But head coach John Carver says United – who take on Liverpool at Anfield tonight – won’t just be looking at the technical qualities of potentials signings.
And the 50-year-old insists the club, which has recruited heavily from France in recent years, will also do “due diligence” on their character.
Newcastle were abject in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland, and Carver believes there’s “something not right” in the make-up of the playing staff in the wake of a fifth successive derby loss.
Asked about the need for character as well as ability, Carver said: “Definitely, but it’s very difficult sometimes.
There’s something within the make up within this group of players, and I say within their DNA, that when it comes to a derby game, there’s something not right.John Carver
“If you’re dealing in the French, German or Spanish market, then it’s very difficult to find out a little bit about their personality, about how they are around the place.
“It’s easy if you’re dealing with a British club. I could pick up the phone to Steve Clarke at Reading and say ‘what’s X, Y or Z like?’ (and he would say) ‘ah, he’s a great lad blah blah’.
“With the amount of foreign players coming in now, it’s a tougher situation, but you have to try and do as much due diligence if you can to find out as much as you can about the player.
“Normally, there’s a way of doing it if you go to the stadium. I’ve done this in the past when I’ve gone to watch a player and you’re sitting with the fans sometimes and you actually start having a conversation about them and you try and find out a little bit about their character.
“That’s one way of doing it, but you’re not going to get everybody right.
“But you’ve got to try and do as much homework as you can and find out about their personality, because we’ve lost five derby games.
“So there’s something within the make up within this group of players, and I say within their DNA, that when it comes to a derby game, there’s something not right.
“There’s something not right within their make up. No matter how hard you try and no matter what you try and do, it’s an issue.
“What I will say is that I’ve been delighted with the response of them in the sense of the disappointment.
“They know and they’re hurting – and they should be hurting, as I am. As we all are. I’ve seen that. But, actions speak louder than words.”
Mathieu Debuchy – who left Newcastle for Arsenal last summer – adjusted with ease to the Premier League and didn’t lack character on the field.
But the defender recently admitted his move to United was a stepping stone to a bigger club.
Asked about Debuchy’s comments, Carver said: “That is his opinion, his mind process.
“When Matty Debuchy was here, I never got that impression, so you can’t be critical of him in particular because of what he has done and how he has done it.
“Look at (Gareth) Bale. He went to Spurs and is now at Real Madrid. In his head he may always have thought ‘I want to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona’.
“The fact he has ended up there, you can’t be critical of that.
“The kid Matty, in particular, has progressed. He got a step up to the Premier League, did ever so well for us and got the opportunity to go to Arsenal and we couldn’t stand in his way, let’s be honest.”