Steve McClaren reacts to Newcastle’s gutsy draw against Chelsea

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic

Steve McClaren hailed his players’ “courage” in Newcastle United’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

McClaren’s side led 2-0 at St James’s Park this evening thanks to goals from Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum.

But Chelsea substitutes Ramires and Willian claimed a point for the visitors with late goals.

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren was heartened by the performance, which came just three days after his team was knocked out of the Capital One Cup on home turf by Sheffield Wednesday’s reserves.

“A good result and a great performance – that’s what we wanted,” said McClaren. “It’s been a tough week, and there was lots of pressure on the players today.

“That was more like it. We expect and demand a performance like that, and they got the crowd behind them.

“You could see a determination in the players. Against the odds, we grew into the game. The players showed real courage.”

Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic returned from suspension against Chelsea.

McClaren added: “Aleksandar Mitrovic has been missed, and he can be a talisman for us. He is annoyed he hadn’t scored, but he can make a real difference for us.”

United, however, remain 19th in the Premier League after the result.