McClaren: Newcastle must answer the “wake-up call”

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It’s still early days, yes, but Newcastle United’s start to the 2015-16 Premier League season is quite alarming when you consider it looks eerily familiar to the way they finished the 2014-15 season.

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One win in your final 11 league games (on the last day of the season, to avoid relegation, no less), followed by zero wins and three losses in the first five of the following season — not a 16-game run likely to inspire much confidence or hope from the St James’ Park faithful, is it? Following Monday’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham United, in which the Magpies never looked threatening at all, Steve McClaren, who took over as manager in the summer, admitted his side hasn’t been good enough and that their latest defeat has to be the “wake-up call” that turns things around.

“It’s been a difficult start — two good draws at home and at Old Trafford — but our platform is being able to be organized, disciplined and defend well. It was a wake-up call for us. … Very disappointed and a big lesson for us all. … We need a reaction on Saturday.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s confidence. We’re been talking a lot about belief. With last season going down to the wire, there’s not a lot of belief at the club. We’re trying to build that. That’s what disappointed me — in the first four games, we were starting to [build belief]. This is a journey and it’s kind of like two steps forward and one step back. Today was kind of like two or three steps back.”

Newcastle will look to rebound this Saturday, when they host newly-promoted Watford (Watch live, Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on Live Extra) — currently 12th in the league — in a potential relegation six-pointer come the end of the season.