Newcastle must remain 'calm' and regroup after Chelsea loss - McClaren
LONDON -- Steve McClaren called on his Newcastle team to be "calm and reflective" after Saturday's 5-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge left them mired in the relegation zone with 12 Premier League matches left to play.
Chelsea scored three times in the first 17 minutes through Diego Costa, Pedro Rodriguez and Willian to settle the match as a contest, with Pedro's second and a goal for substitute Bertrand Traore after the break condemning Newcastle to their heaviest Premier League defeat since November.
Andros Townsend netted a late consolation goal for the visitors.
Newcastle now have an 18-day break before their next competitive match and will head to Spain for a mid-season fitness camp and friendly against Norwegian club Lillestrom, as McClaren bids to end a run that has seen his side win just two of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
After the match McClaren defended the decision to embark on what some have called a "warm weather trip" and insists Newcastle need time to reflect and regroup following a defeat that leaves them 18th in the Premier League, having claimed just 24 points from 26 matches.
"I don't know why people say it's a 'warm weather trip' -- it could be pouring down where we're going," McClaren said. "Nobody knows that. We want to refocus the boys, get them together, get some good fitness and organisation work in. We wanted to arrange a game and we've tried like mad to arrange one in this country with other teams, but we've been incapable of doing that.
"All we can get is foreign opposition in a foreign country, so we have to do that. I think a game is important. Believe you me it's a training camp. It's for work and I'm looking forward to that.
"Games can be won in the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes. We won the game in the first 20 minutes last week and this week we lost it. The majority of the goals and opportunities were self-inflicted in terms of not dealing with the ball, not dealing with their press which we knew they would do. You could see Chelsea wanted the game won by half-time and they did that."
Asked if he felt embarrassed by the defeat, McClaren replied: "During the game and at half-time all the anger, disappointment and frustration is expelled. Now in the cold light of day we have to be reflective and calm, and know that there are 12 games to go.
"Any team with the quality Chelsea have got can do that to teams and they did it to us. I'm not particularly upbeat about this result or performance at all. I just know we've got 18 days and 12 games to go.
"I'm upbeat about what I've got in the dressing room, what they've shown, what they're capable of doing. We need to show that."