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Lee Clark: Newcastle not good enough; My attempt to sign Chelsea whiz Mount

The mood isn't great around Newcastle after two losses…

I was at the first game against Arsenal and I thought they looked quite bright in the first half. They were getting the ball into the front two, they were playing on the front foot and they had some half chances. But then as the game wore on they just got a little bit tired in the new formation they were playing and it allowed Arsenal back into the game, who didn't have many chances but they didn't need them in the end. So in defeat there were some positives to take from the first game, knowing that this was a work in progress.

But last weekend was a real downer for everyone. From the first moment to the last.

They were second to everything in every department. They put on a real disappointing performance even though they did have opportunities to go and get goals. Joelinton had a terrific chance as well as the new Swedish fullback Emil Krafth, who blazed one over the bar.

But from then on in it was backs to the wall. Everyone knows that when it's a newly promoted team in their first home game there's going to be a buzz around the place and they're going to come at you, and that's what Norwich did. Newcastle couldn't handle it and if it wasn't for Martin Dubravka the scoreline could've been more than 3-1.

The manager made some quotes like the players didn't put their boots on, meaning that they never got started. Then Paul Dummett is coming out and questioning the players application from the start in terms of warm-ups. Those warms-up get you focused and in the zone, ready for the match, they get you up to speed and in the tempo of what is coming. They are crucial. You have to get those done properly. You've only got a couple of minutes to get yourself back in the dressing room and then back out on the pitch. And I think Paul was saying that to him they didn't look right in their preparation.

That responsibility falls solely on the players themselves. It's the second game of the season and we're questioning whether the players are up for the game? It's got to fall with them ultimately. You should never, never not be up for a Premier League game. It's absolutely crazy. You've got to do better. And it showed in their performance.

Some of the situations that you see where they should be making recovery runs and they were just jogging, rather than being full sprint. You never know if you chase someone down, if your recovery run and sprint and the keeper saves a one-on-one, you might give him a chance to clear it. If you just jog back and the keeper saves it and parries it, then the forward has got the opportunity to tap the second one in. So never give up, always try and make something happen. And that right there has been the downer for everyone since Norwich - the nature of the performance.

There was nothing to be positive about, even when Jonjo Shelvey scored the consolation in injury-time the supporters didn't really celebrate because they were so down about the performance and rightly so.


Steve Bruce absolutely needs to field his best side for the League Cup game with Leicester.

I know he has come out and said that and he has to follow through by fielding what he thinks is his strongest team with all his senior players.

It's a great opportunity despite it being one of the hardest draws. Leicester away is a tough prospect and they will be disappointed with the draw so early on.

But as I've said previously in this column, Newcastle need to be focused on winning trophies. And getting knocked out of a competition so early will only add to the disappointing mood around the city at the moment.


Obviously it's been much different watching Chelsea over the first two games of the season under Frank Lampard.

It's quite unique to watch the Blues with so many young players running around, when usually they're such an experienced and older group. It seems that Frank would be giving youngsters a chance even if the transfer ban wasn't in place.

One of those players is Mason Mount, who has come in and got his first senior goal for Chelsea last weekend. He is a terrific talent and somebody I've known about for many, many years.

As a real youngster, Mount was part of the Chelsea FA Youth Cup winning team that I was interested in taking to Kilmarnock. I think he was only around 16, 17 at the time, but Chelsea weren't interested in loaning him out at such a young age. Whether they thought Scottish football at that time was the right place for him anyway was another thing.

I caught a glimpse of him when I'd been down south watching a couple of youth cup games when they went on to win the competition. You could tell even at that age that he was going to make something of himself, he is just a fantastic player. And what he has done is grow in stature and what Chelsea have done in terms of his development has been perfect - sending him to Derby with Frank, with him being that type of player as well, he learnt from the perfect role model as a player and an individual.


The one thing that should happen with the transfer window, because I know managers are asking for this, all the windows across Europe should shut at the same time. Then after that the loan window should stay open.

That way Championship and EFL clubs can sign younger players frrom the higher leagues during the season. There is also the problem with Premier League clubs who have cut players from their squads.

Take Newcastle for example. Five senior players we know, including Rolando Aarons and Jack Colback, can only sign for clubs abroad or in League One or League Two. Now if Championship clubs were able to do so too, I'm sure they would look to sign those sort of players on loan. League One clubs would be lining up to sign them as well, but can they pay their wages? And would the players be interested in dropping down that far? That's not being disrespectful to those clubs, it's just the reality.

It's a tough one for the clubs as well because as a manager you're going to have players who are disappointed going into training every day and knowing they aren't going to play, they've got nothing to look forward to. And that could potentially lead to them disrupting the dressing room and being a negative influence as well. If you look at some of the bigger clubs who carry massive squads, they'll have numerous players in the same position who can't be called upon and can't be loaned out, so it's a tricky one for everyone involved.

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Lee Clark
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Lee Clark


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