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Lee Clark: Newcastle, Almiron & agent; Lookman's panenka; Mourinho has Spurs contenders

I feel Steve Bruce was absolutely right when he called the agent of Miguel Almiron an amateur.

Your client is already contracted to a football club for a very long time, so to come out publicly and say well he would have been away in the previous window had it not been for COVID and there's good chance he could be leaving next summer was not smart.

Now I'm a fan of Almiron, he's got lots of assets; works extremely hard, great pace, he can past people. But let's get it right, he hasn't exactly set the world alight.

Just look at his stats, his goals and assists. And he isn't part of a team that is flying either. So everybody just needs to calm down a bit.

His agent needs to get back in his box and worry about moving Almiron on or getting him a new deal when the player starts producing the level of performance that warrants it.

As an ex-manager I'm not in for all that. There doesn't have to be that type of conversation anymore. Those days are gone when agents used to use the media and friends in the newspapers to run a story that such and such are unhappy at their clubs. You don't need to do that anymore. The game has changed.

Agents have direct contact with the chief executive and chairman of the club, they don't deal with the managers anymore.

Jorge Mendes has unbelievable clients and clientele. Why? Because he doesn't do his business in the public domain, he doesn't have to.

If Mendes was Miguel Almiron's agent, he would be saying if you're unhappy go and see the manager. Because all the reports from the football club is that he is a brilliant young guy, he works extremely hard every day in training and gives all in the matches. But to put the agent in place, he hasn't been sensational where lots and lots of teams are going to be coming in for him.


I've always been a believer in that if you're doing something as outrageous as Ademola Lookman's panenka, there can only be one outcome and that is the goal.

And if you do the way he did it in injury time to get his team a point which could be valuable come the end of the season then you've got to wear the consequences and learn from it.

Lookman has been one of the standout players since he signed with Fulham, as he showed the other night against Leicester City. It would have been terrible for him, his teammates and Scott Parker.

I don't think the point will come back to haunt them because they are starting to look more settled in the Premier League and I expect them to start picking up more points.

But if you take a risk like that, it looks unbelievable if it happens but if it doesn't, you have to suffer the consequences.

Whether you're young or old, it doesn't matter. Once you get to that level of football you've got to understand the situation and the seriousness and you've got to make sure. There can't be any failures.

You're going to get repercussions when something like that happens. If you take the penalty normally and miss, put your foot through the back of the ball, and it misses, then no problem that stuff happens.

But Lookman has had great support from his teammates and Scott, it hasn't impacted his performances. And Fulham look like they are going to pick up points on a regular basis and hopefully they do, so they don't fall into the bottom three.


Jeff Hendrick has been workmanlike at best since joining Newcastle this past summer. He was always going to be that type of player. He was that type of player at Burnley and the Republic of Ireland. He's an honest player, gives everything. Are we looking to him to make defence splitting passes like Grealish or Maddison? That's not his game. He's very similar to the midfield players we've got so it has been a difficult period for him.

I hope Newcastle can kick on after beating Palace last weekend. Even though the quality wasn't great, to win away from home in the Premier League is not an easy feat. The team has to pick up their level of performances, there's no disguising that. They haven't been anywhere near the level that's required. But Palace was an important result and hopefully that can give them a lift.


I can't see Matty leaving St. James' Park in January. I don't think Newcastle have a big enough or strong enough squad to let somebody of Matty's quality leave the club.

He's had a stop, start last few months because of injury. The situation with his contract has now been sorted. So I would be amazed if they let Matty go.

If they did and he went to Derby, he would be a magnificent signing for Derby in the Championship. I can see where the link is because Matty has just signed up to Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group, the same agency as Wayne Rooney. But I can't see it happening.


That's one of the things you have to do with players. When you see them on the edge you have to decide whether it's the right time to take them off.

I've done it a couple of times in my career. One with success. I took the player off when he got booked earlier in the game and all it takes is a mistimed tackle, it doesn't have to be much contact and you're off. And I took the player off and put someone else on and we ended up winning the game.

Another time I did and took off a player who was playing particularly well but had been booked early in the game. So early in the second-half I took him off and we lost impetus and eventually lost the game.

You've got to do what you see is right. The game now as well is that you can get yellow cards for such innocuous things. Last night the best thing would have been to substitute Fred from the game. He was walking a tight-rope.

You had opposition who are going to commit you to fouls and run straight at you. It only takes half an inch and it's a yellow card. That's one of the issues. You want to see your players compete and not pull out of challenges, but they get an early yellow card and you've always got that worry in your head.


Both clubs have got a great chance of winning the Premier League title this season.

It was a game of chess at the weekend. They know each other are going to be title contenders and nobody wanted to give an inch. Playing certain moves on a chess board. And the tactical game that was played out by both managers was terrific. It wasn't an exciting game on the eye.

Personally I'm really excited by the Spurs situation. I've always been a believer in that Jose Mourinho has been harshly labelled and harshly treated.

I believe there is a lack of respect for him at times, for what he's done at the game, for what's achieved and what he's won. I think that should warrant a little bit more respect.

Players do it as well. They might go through spells when they don't win the big prizes but you look at Manchester United now, when you consider what he did there he won two cups and finished second behind a ridiculously strong Manchester City and you look what's happened since he left, so it shows he didn't do as bad a job as people try and make out.

Mourinho has won trophies wherever he's been, he's getting more from these Spurs players than just exceptional talent. The squad is terrific and they look like they've got the mentality, but whether they can run the course is another thing.

Liverpool and Manchester City are not running away with it now. That's been the excitement. You could consider Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Spurs, and then can Leicester keep up with the pace? For the neutrals out there it's been a really exciting season so far and it should continue that way.

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Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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