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McClaren seeks Boxing Day tonic for Villa hangover

Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren wants to put the frustration of a stalemate with Aston Villa to one side when his resurgent side take on Everton.

Following back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Tottenham that pulled them out of the relegation zone, Newcastle appeared set to chalk up a third successive victory when Fabricio Coloccini gave them a 38th-minute lead against rock-bottom Villa.

But Jordan Ayew struck a spectacular equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw for Remi Garde’s strugglers and McClaren has urged his players to refocus for Everton’s visit to St James’ Park on Boxing Day.

“The draw was frustrating,” said the former England boss. “We’d have taken seven points before the Liverpool game, but it’s gone now and we move on to Everton. 

“Everton are tough opponents; a very good team. They have great balance and [manager] Roberto Martinez has done a terrific job.

“It’s about us and that’s what we’ve focused on. Working hard, matching our opponents. We have players who can cause teams problems.

“We have to move on quickly from Villa. We were very unlucky and had chances to win it. I understand the fans’ frustrations.”

McClaren added that striker Papiss Cisse will be assessed after picking up a groin problem against Villa and he hopes his club’s injury burden eases during the new year.

“We don’t mention it much but we’ve got four or five long-term injuries – nine on the treatment table,” he added.

Tue 22 Dec, 2015
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