Steve McClaren admitted that he ‘couldn’t shut his players up’ at half-time during Newcastle’s comeback win over Spurs.
Newcastle came from behind to beat Spurs thanks to a last-minute goal from substitute Ayoze Perez, crowning first back-to-back wins for the Magpies since November last year.
This was also Newcastle’s first victory from behind since beating Everton 3-2 last December, while the win at White Hart Lane lifts them up to 15th, two points above the relegation zone and, hilariously, one point above Chelsea.
McClaren praised the response from his players, with Newcastle 1-0 down at half-time after conceding through an Eric Dier header.
“This was a win for the players,” McClaren said. “Half-time was a big test for this team. We’ve come in at half-time before and the dressing room has been quiet and disappointed, but it was so vocal here. There was such a determination among the players not to lead down the normal path of losing the game. The response in the second half was fantastic.
“There was so much going on in there – Robbie Elliot, Fabricio Coloccini, to be fair, all of them. We couldn’t shut them up, and they took it on board. That’s the pleasing thing for me. We’ve not won back-to-back games for over a year, we’ve not had a comeback win for about a year, so to do it was immense. You can talk and talk but the players did it on the field.”
McClaren added that Newcastle were always “only two days away from another crisis,” but revelled in the Spurs win after a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Liverpool last week.
“There have been two excellent performances and results,” McClaren said. “We said after Liverpool: ‘That’s what we are. That’s what we want to be.’ And today: ‘That’s what we are. That’s what we want to be.’ We want to be this every week. It only comes from a platform or a bed of hard work and attitude and commitment and discipline. And the players had that. When they do that, we have got a chance of winning games.
“We’ve had difficult times and the season has been up and down. We’ve asked for consistency and the last two weeks have provided that, on the back of a lot of criticism. But there’s still a long way to go. And we’ve got a tough one next Saturday against Aston Villa.
“I haven’t spoken to Mike Ashley. He is probably pleased he saw that. We have had glimpses of that and threatened to do that on occasions. But the character in the dressing room was great. It was great to be in there.”
McClaren reserved particular praise for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Perez, who both came off the bench to inspire the visitors to victory.
“All you ask from players is that they give a response,” McClaren said. “If you are on the bench, come on and have an impact. Ayoze and Mitro have not played so they are disappointed. You can be disappointed, come on and not perform but they were disappointed, came on and showed that they wanted to play. They’ve won the game for us. Today will do them and the team a world of good.”