Steve McClaren says Newcastle United must become a fight club – after watching his players throw in the towel.
McClaren’s side were dumped out of the Capital One Cup in embarrassing fashion by Sheffield Wednesday’s reserves in midweek.
There’s never harmony, completely, in a football club, only if you’re winning every game.Steve McClaren
And the club is second-from-bottom in the Premier League – and without a win – ahead of tomorrow evening’s home game against champions Chelsea.
Fans booed head coach McClaren and his players at the final whistle after the cup defeat at St James’s Park.
And the talk on Tyneside is of another relegation battle – despite a £50million-plus summer spend.
McClaren, tasked in the summer with guiding the club to a top-eight finish, was furious with his players, whose abject surrender against Wednesday has left him the third-favourite in the Premier League’s sack race.
McClaren said: “They’ve got to (fight). There’s no two ways about it. You’ve got to.
“This is as far as you go back – you’ve now got to stride forward. We’ve got to take it forward.
“We’ve said it’s a turning point or a line in the sand that you say ‘right, we don’t cross’.
“Now we must fight on Saturday. We must show that.
“That’s all anyone wants in this stadium – that we come out and fight and we do more than we’ve done in the last two games at home.”
McClaren this week dismissed a claim that injured midfielder Cheick Tiote was a “bad egg” in a “poisonous” dressing room.
But the team’s shambolic on-pitch performances against Wednesday, Watford and West Ham United have left supporters wondering just how united the club’s squad is ahead of the Chelsea game.
Asked if there were problems in the dressing room at Newcastle, McClaren told BBC Radio Newcastle: “There’s never harmony, completely, in a football club, only if you’re winning every game.
“They’re a bunch who come into work. Their attitudes are good.
“They work hard. They’ve got the ability, it’s just not showing at the present moment.
“For sure it’s there, for definite it’s there. It’s about time we started showing it.”