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Blog: Sports Correspondent Simon O'Rourke looks forward to Newcastle's trip to Manchester City on Saturday

There are two ways of looking at this. There's the "knee jerk reactionary" view and then there's the "wake up and smell the coffee" view.

Let's knee jerk first. Newcastle United were better against Chelsea last weekend. Much, much better. The attitude and application was spot on. The tactics worked, up to a point, and certain individuals were much improved. Meanwhile cracks have appeared at Manchester City. They started the season imperiously, but they've stuttered in recent weeks. The absence of their favoured central defensive duo, Vincent Kompany and Eliquim Mangala, has been a major factor. They'll still be missing tomorrow. So why can't Newcastle make hay in Manchester ? Why can't Mitrovic and Perez run riot ? Well, no reason really. If your black and white glass is half full then head to the North West full of optimism.

Unless you choose to take the "wake up and smell the coffee" view. Newcastle WERE better last weekend. But they didn't close out the win. They've yet to win a league game this season. Manchester City HAVE stuttered recently. But they'll still probably line up with a front three of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne, which is capable of ripping defences to shreds. Basically, they're still Manchester City and they still start as favourites to win this match.

But whether you're a knee jerker or a coffee smeller, this suddenly doesn't seem as clear cut as it did a few weeks ago.

  • Watch Newcastle United Head Coach Steve McClaren give his thoughts ahead of the trip to Manchester City

Bookies slash odds on Advocaat and McClaren being first to go

Bookies have cut the odds on Dick Advocaat and Steve McClaren being the first and second Premier League managers to leave their clubs Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bookmakers William Hill have slashed the odds on Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat being the first Premier League manager to leave his job to 6/4.

Behind him are Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers who are level in the betting at 2/1.

"It hasn't been a great third round for the under pressure managers but it is so close as to who will leave first out of Advocaat, Rodgers and McClaren"

– Joe Crilly, William Hill spokesman

Both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have had disappointing starts to the season. Newcastle were knocked out of the Capital One cup on Wednesday, September 23, after losing 1-0 at home to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, their fourth consecutive loss. Sunderland, meanwhile, suffered a heavy defeat in round three, losing 4-1 to Manchester City.


Newcastle's woes continue with Capital One Cup exit

A frustrated Moussa Sissoko reacts after hitting the post during the match. Credit: PA

Newcastle's troubles continue as Championship side Sheffield Wednesday pulled off a shock 1-0 win at St James' Park in the Capital One Cup third round.

The hosts, still without a Barclays Premier League win this season under new boss Steve McClaren, produced a dismal display against a Wednesday side featuring 10 changes.

Sheffield Wednesday's Lewis McGugan celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Capital One Cup, third round match at St James' Park, Newcastle. Credit: PA

Their fate was sealed by Lewis McGugan's 76th-minute strike, the midfielder drilling in after the ball broke to him when the Magpies failed to deal with a delivery into the box.

McClaren: fans need 'blind faith' that things will get better

Steve McClaren said in a press conference today that testing times had come early, but not unexpectedly this season.

Newcastle United lie in 19th position in the Premier League without a win to their name ahead of tomorrow's encounter with Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.

McClaren struck a positive tone though, and praised the team for the spirit they showed in the first four games of the season.

He did admit that a lack of fight after conceding early against Watford and West Ham had left him disappointed.

McClaren was unable to name a team for tomorrow's game due to injury niggles, with Massadio Haidara and Jack Colback out of action.

He also thanked the fans, who he said have been 'fantastic'. He urged them to 'have a bit of blind faith' that the team will start performing.

You can watch the whole press conference here.

McClaren hoping players react positively to West Ham defeat

Newcastle Boss Steve McClaren is set to make changes as his team look for their first premier league win of the season at home to Watford tomorrow.

Ayoze Perez and Siem de Jong are both pushing for a start after Monday Night's disappointing defeat at West Ham.

McClaren said today that setbacks like that are "part of the process" when a new coaching staff takes over at a club, but he insists both he and his players have learnt from the experience.

You can watch Steve McClaren's full press conference, ahead of the Watford match, below.


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