Steve McClaren talked a lot about consistency ahead of this afternoon’s game.
Newcastle United, normally, are consistently inconsistent.
In the latter months of last season, however, the team was consistently awful.
After a promising start, things were going awry at United before the team’s gallant 2-2 draw against Premier League champions Chelsea at St James’s Park last weekend.
“Consistency is now what we are after from that level of performance against Chelsea,” said McClaren.
“That is how we want to play in the first half. Fought all the way. Defended well in the second half.
“We have been inconsistent from the start of the season. Some good, some bad. Seven games in we are getting closer to our style and level of play.”
There weren’t many journalists at the club’s Benton training ground to hear McClaren’s thoughts.
McClaren’s pre-match Press conference had clashed with the one down the road, and Dick Advocaat was the story yesterday.
A week or so earlier, McClaren had been the story after three dire performances against Sheffield Wednesday, Watford and West Ham United.
Newcastle were better against Chelsea, and McClaren, no doubt, was relieved to be out of the North East spotlight.
But United could yet end the day at the foot of the Premier League.
McClaren asked fans to reserve judgement until after 10 matches.
This afternoon is the club’s eighth league game of the season, and the October 25 Wear-Tyne derby is game 10.
Sunderland – who have won the last five derbies – could well have a new manager by then.
And that’s one game McClaren – and Newcastle – cannot afford to lose.