Newcastle and Sunderland slump against promoted sides
LONDON: Football fans in England's north-east suffered new embarrassment on Sunday with both Newcastle United and Sunderland suffering defeats by promoted clubs that kept them fixed at the foot of the Premier League table.
Newcastle lost 2-1 at home to Watford while Sunderland went down 2-0 on the south coast at Bournemouth. The two leading clubs in the region have earned just four points between them from a possible 36 this season.
Both sides started woefully, Newcastle shipping two goals in half an hour from Odion Ighalo and Sunderland conceding stikes by Callum Wilson in the fourth minute and Matt Ritchie in the ninth.
Newcastle's Daryl Janmaat pulled one back in the 62nd minute but there was precious little other encouragement in the performance.
Newcastle coach Steve McClaren, who earlier this week described his side's start to the season as "a bit like a car crash", told reporters he was trying to change a lot.
"Being here two and a half months, it is very difficult to change things round quickly. I think Newcastle have won three games in the last 25, after a good run in November last year, so there is history there that needs changing and turning around," he told the BBC.
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat was more blunt.
"You cannot do worse than the first half," he told the BBC. "We started the first half totally hopelessly. There was no sharpness. Me and the players have to look in the mirror.
"Two points after six games is not enough. Nice words is not enough, we have to do it a different way now."
Both teams narrowly escaped relegation last season.
And both managers tried to find a glimmer of optimism in the gloom.
"I'm under no illusion this is a hard job. We have the proof of that now. But we have the experience in the backroom to turn this around," McClaren said.
While Advocaat wound up his harsh criticism of the players with: "I am sure we will stay up though."