Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren was impressed by his players’ half-time rallying call during a stunning 2-1 comeback win at Tottenham.
The hosts enjoyed the better of the opening period and were rewarded when Eric Dier headed them into a 39th-minute lead.
But Newcastle were back on terms with 16 minutes to play as Aleksandar Mitrovic netted 109 seconds after coming off the bench, and fellow substitute Ayoze Perez scored a stoppage-time winner to haul McClaren’s men out of the relegation zone, seven days on from a rousing home victory over Liverpool.
“Half-time was a big, big test for this team,” the former England boss told a post-match media conference.
“I thought we competed well [in the first half] and we were really disappointed and angry with the goal.
“The players at half-time were great. It was a win for the players, this. They were terrific.
“We’ve come in before at half-time and the dressing room has been quiet and disappointed, but it was so vocal and there was such a determination among the players not to head down the normal path of losing the game.
“The response in the second half was fantastic. I think we grew, got stronger and deserved the win.”
Asked for details of the mid-match summit, McClaren struggled to identify a ringleader.
“There was so much going on – Rob Elliot, [Fabricio] Coloccini, to be fair all of them. We couldn’t shut them up,” he explained.
“We’ve had difficult times this season. We’ve asked for consistency and the last two weeks have provided that on the back of a lot of criticism.
“It’s brought everybody closer together to be perfectly honest but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do.
“You know at Newcastle you’re only two days away from another crisis, so we will keep our feet on the ground.”