It is not a case of lights, camera and action for Steve McClaren’s Newcastle United, whose last five wins have come in games televised live in the United Kingdom.
Back-to-back wins over Tottenham and Liverpool were shown live in the UK as Newcastle moved two points clear of the Premier League relegation.
However, McClaren dismissed the correlation between Newcastle’s wins and live TV audiences as simple coincidence, laughing off claims that his imports only shine when they know they are being watched by large audiences.
“If it adds an extra edge, I don’t mind,” said McClaren. “But it’s like saying, ‘do you prepare for a derby game differently to any other’ – well why should you? Why should you play any differently in front of TV cameras.
“I don’t believe in all that. Believe you me, when you step across that white line or when you’re in that dugout, there’s 52,000 people – you don’t care who’s watching you or whether there’s TV cameras or not.
“There’s enough pressure and there should be enough motivation there to think: ‘I can’t let these people down.’ It is a funny stat, yeah. Coincidence maybe.”
While McClaren believes the statistic is nothing significant, he will be hoping it matters on into the weekend when Newcastle face basement club Aston Villa on Saturday live on television, dismissing claims that losing to the Midlands club now after consecutive shock victories would be typical of the team.
“So everyone keeps telling me this week. The players have heard it, we have heard it and I think we have got the message loud and clear. We will do everything to try to avoid that,” McClaren said.
“It is an opportunity and a challenge for the players to say that is not going to happen. But there is no doubt, we are facing a very, very dangerous Villa team, who have got individuals who are capable of winning football matches. This is a game that is totally different from the last two we have had.”