At this juncture, it’s probably fair to draw the conclusion that Fabricio Coloccini and his mates have given up even pretending to care about the fortunes of Newcastle United.
The curly-haired captain’s cowardice was blatantly obvious in a 5-1 reverse at Crystal Palace. A leader? Not a chance – and his fellow black and whites were hardly any better.
How the Selhurst Park faithful must have been delighted on Saturday that their visitors resisted any attempts to steal Coloccini; for who will take his new contract off their hands now?
Steve McClaren sought to regain the trust of his players with a midweek training ground exchange, but after Papiss Cisse’s impressive opener it was all one-way traffic due to yet another hideous collapse.
Alan Pardew lost the United dressing room with the sale of Yohan Cabaye – a man now central to the Eagles’ set-up – and no amount of personnel changes have fixed such a glaring hole.
Considering this was a squad accused of a lack of character, there was no fight from Newcastle. Moussa Sissoko repeated his pathetic standard shift, before being joined by compatriot Yoan Gouffran who, in some quarters, continues to inexplicably escape criticism for his laziness.
Those who do care, the likes of Paul Dummett, Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita, simply don’t look good enough in this struggling side. The former endured a torrid afternoon against a combination of Wilfried Zaha and Yanick Bolasie, while the latter two only contributed to Palace’s cause – teeing up attack after attack with their untidy and irresponsible midfield play.
McClaren has been left all at sea by a group of players who lack the interest or talent to shake a football club from its stupor, and yet his own tactical decisions did little to help.
In players like Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the former England manager at least has some quality to call upon. Here, though, two were withdrawn long before full-time, and Mitrovic didn’t feature at all.
Between the boss’s baffling team selections and the subsequent non-performances through one-to-eleven, United are in real trouble.
Tottenham Hotspur follow Liverpool on the Magpies’ fixture list, before a crunch clash with Aston Villa. If there’s no hope now, what will the mood be like on Tyneside should Newcastle fail to win any of the three games before Christmas?