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Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren brushes off St James’s Park boos

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren.
Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren.

Steve McClaren has admitted he won’t please all of the people all of the time at Newcastle United.

There were muted boos at St James’s Park after Saturday’s 1-1 draw against basement club Aston Villa.

But we were going forward at the end. We opened the game up, put a wide player (Florian Thauvin) on for a defensive player (Vurnon Anita), and wanted to win the game and went for the game, so I was a little surprised.

The result left the club in 17th position ahead of the Boxing Day home game against Everton.

Head coach McClaren talked of the “emotional fragility” of a crowd which has witnessed far more bad than good in recent seasons.

Asked if he was “surprised” by the boos, McClaren said: “Yes, I was.

“They know when their team doesn’t try, doesn’t put the effort in, doesn’t show attitude and doesn’t want to win the game.

“But we were going forward at the end. We opened the game up, put a wide player (Florian Thauvin) on for a defensive player (Vurnon Anita), and wanted to win the game and went for the game, so I was a little surprised.

“But you know you are always going to get that in football, and you can’t satisfy everybody.”

McClaren had talked of the need for “patience” from players and fans alike in the build-up to the match, which was played on a saturated pitch.

The heavens opened before kick-off and the downpour continued well into the game, but referee Martin Atkinson was happy for the televised fixture to continue on the soaked turf at the break.

“We have to overcome the emotional fragility of the crowd,” said McClaren.

“I thought we did that to a large extent as we did against Tottenham and in the previous two games.

“We are trying to convince them to fight, come through it and see what you can do, and conditions were really poor to play good football, which is what we like to do, and the players did well in it, I thought.”

Newcastle were first to everything in the first half, and captain Fabricio Coloccini opened the scoring with his first goal for the club in more than a year.

Coloccini lost his marker to drive a Siem de Jong corner past visiting goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Forward de Jong should have put United 2-0 up in the second half, but his header went wide and Jordan Ayew levelled in the 61st minute with a stunning finish to claim a point for Remi Garde’s side.

McClaren, however, was heartened by his team’s reaction to Ayew’s goal.

“Of course, it’s going to be nervy, and that ebbs through from the whole stadium,” he said.

“You can feel the tension in certain spells of the game, but the one thing I did like was the way they did overcome that.

“We had a bad 10-15 minutes, and overcame it and finished the game strongly. That pleased me because I thought 10 games ago we would have lost that game.”

“You could tell there was nervousness. We came back from that, which pleased me. We had chances to win the game at the end, and it’s frustrating.”

Newcastle had beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in their previous two fixtures.

Those victories followed abject defeats to Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace and league leaders Leicester City, and McClaren is still at a loss to explain what happened in those two fixtures.

McClaren said: “Every manager says they could be doing this and that in their interviews.

“In the last two weeks, with Liverpool and Spurs and previous to that we were talking about eight games, 13 points, we had two bad performances.

“I don’t know what happened in the international break, but we were poor in the two games after that and before that, seven from four, after that we have collected seven from three so in the middle of that, I don’t know what happened.

“But (against Villa) they stayed there for 95 minutes, and we had a chance to win it at the end.”