Steve McClaren revealed he considered dropping the whole Newcastle United side for Sunday’s match against Liverpool in response to the team’s poor form.
Newcastle ended a run of back-to-back Premier League defeats with a surprise 2-0 win at home to Liverpool.
McClaren’s Newcastle were not given much of a chance pre-game, with a number of pundits predicting a rout at St James’ Park following the 5-1 loss to Crystal Palace on November 28.
But the introduction of Siem de Jong for Ayoze Perez in the only change to the line-up worked well as Martin Skrtel’s own goal and a late Georginio Wijnaldum strike sealed the win.
“We have been looking at various things. Changing the personnel. I considered leaving out every one of them!” McClaren said after the win, which lifted Newcastle above local rivals Sunderland into 18th place in the standings.
“On Thursday evening we slept on it and said, ‘Well, that team, more or less, that started the last six or seven games, were collecting points’. It was a case of people outrunning opponents. Being competitive. We gave everyone the chance to put it right.
“It has been a tough two weeks. The team have taken a lot of criticism – rightly so. We have no qualms. The only response you can give is on the pitch. We said you have to out-work Liverpool. Then you have a chance of winning.”
McClaren added belief was crucial to his squad and denied beating Liverpool was a result that would save him from the sack.
“We believe in this team and these players. They are young and confidence can be knocked easily and drained,” he said.
“In terms of me personally, it saves me from banging my head against the wall and wondering what to do next week.
“This team has talent and ability and when they show belief and confidence, they showed they are good players.
“They have crawled off there. They are exhausted. That is what happens when you win games.”