October 25, 2014

Newcastle United are targeting their second shock result in succession as they travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Steve McClaren's Newcastle (3-4-8) produced an unexpected performance as they deservedly beat in-form Liverpool 2-0 last weekend. And the Magpies have the opportunity to make it two surprise wins in two at the expense of the Spurs, another of the league's in-form clubs.

McClaren's stint at Newcastle has overall been a struggle so far and the club remain in the Premier League's bottom three despite last week's victory, but the manager has urged his players to repeat their level of performance against the Lilywhites to further revive their season.

"We need to follow up at White Hart Lane; we need to put in a performance if we are to get anything," said McClaren. "We have been reiterating what we did against Liverpool and what we need to do to give a good performance against Spurs.

"We had a terrible run of two games, so it's important we get back to where we were before the international break. One of the key ingredients is that you have to out-run your opponents and put the effort in. It's no coincidence that when you do that, the crowd get behind you and you get results."

Newcastle have "put the effort in" on their last two Premier League visits to White Hart Lane, winning both matches, but that's where the form-book deserts them. The Magpies have endured an appalling record on the road of late, winning just one of their last 14 away from St James' Park - getting outscored 35-5 in that run. Spurs, meanwhile, are enjoying a club-record 14-match unbeaten run since their opening-day defeat and have not lost in nine at home (5-4-0) in league play dating back to their 2014-15 regular-season finale.

Mauricio Pochettino's top-four hopefuls did show signs of fatigue as they were held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion last weekend to slow their impressive progress up the table, but the Tottenham manager had the luxury of resting his key players in their Europa League win over Monaco on Thursday in an attempt to rectify that tiredness.

Despite being without the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen, Spurs (6-8-1) demolished Monaco 4-1 in a scintillating display to secure top spot in the club's Europa group and boost morale ahead of a busy few weeks of league games. A first-half Erik Lamela hat trick was the feature of the win, and the winger's manager was happy to sing his praises after the game.

"Lamela has not surprised me, he is a great talent," Pochettino said. "It is true that today he is more confident and looks a different player from two years ago, but there are always a lot of reasons for the improvement of a player. He is a very special boy but he needed time to adapt and not only on the pitch - he is a young player and had just arrived in a new country."When you score a hat trick you don't have to say anything more, because it was great for him and great for the team."

Lamela is likely to retain his place in the starting lineup as a result of his display, despite pressure on his place from summer signing Heung-Min Son, but midfielders Eric Dier (ankle), Mousa Dembele (illness) and Ryan Mason (ankle) are all doubts, so both creative players may be accommodated in the starting XI this week.

Newcastle have a number of injury problems themselves and are missing Cheick Tiote, Massadio Haidara, Rolando Aarons, Tim Krul, Gabriel Obertan, Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor. The superb Gini Wijnaldum has shaken off a knock picked up against Liverpool and is expected to start, which is a big boost for the Magpies. The midfielder scored the second against the Reds, meaning that he has now been directly involved in over half of the team's 16 goals this season.

You May Like