Steve McClaren has defended his struggling Newcastle United team after fans turned on his players at The Hawthorns.
McClaren’s third-from-bottom side are two points adrift of safety in the Premier League after yesterday’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
We’re going to places now with a consistency of performance, whereas before we were inconsistent.Steve McClaren
Darren Fletcher’s 78th-minute goal gave Tony Pulis’ side a 1-0 win.
The result followed a Boxing Day defeat to Everton at St James’s Park.
But McClaren, with the season at the halfway stage, insists he is pleased with his side’s “consistency of performance”.
However, United’s supporters were less than happy at the final whistle, and many made their feelings known to the players when they acknowledged their support.
Asked about ending the year in the bottom three, McClaren said: “I think the half-term report would say that we didn’t start the season very well.
“We were very inconsistent, but I think we’ve ended the first half of the season with a bit of consistency.
“We’re going to places now with a consistency of performance, whereas before we were inconsistent. We’ve been unlucky with the last two results – a last-minute goal against Everton and then losing this one like we did.
“I’m more disappointed for the players because they’re fighting and showing attitude and endeavour
“They’re playing football, and we have to keep doing that, and get back to picking up points like we were in the previous three games when we were unbeaten.
“I would say we’re getting consistency, and we just need to keep that going.
“The harder you work, the more your luck will turn. We haven’t had a lot of that over the last two games.”
Substitute Florian Thauvin, the first player to go over to the away end, was booed by fans, and his team-mates, led by captain Fabricio Coloccini, briefly applauded the 2,700-strong support before heading to the dressing room.
McClaren, however, said: “I think the team went over and were applauded.
“Whatever we do, we will continue to recognise the fans after a game. Win, lose or draw, I think it’s important.
“I thought the support was magnificent all the way through. We are disappointed, not just for ourselves, but also for the fans because sometimes you don’t get what you deserve in football, and in the last two games, we haven’t.
“But we have to continue what we’ve been doing and know it’ll turn around.”