The McClaren era commenced in an encouraging manner as a new look, if slightly unfit, Newcastle side on the whole shone brightly for the first hour or so before burning out, likely due to a sub-standard pre-season organised by the deposed Carver and company.
Two our of three big money summer signings started this one; Georginio Wijnaldum was deployed as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1, while Chancel Mbemba was thrown in alongside Fabricio Coloccini in the centre of defence, reportedly a last minute decision that displeased Steven Taylor. The third man, Aleksandar Mitrović, was benched as Papiss Cissé was selected up front. Moussa Sissoko appears to have been freed from his deeper role, being utilised on the right as an attacking midfielder, leaving room for Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback as the central midfield pairing.
The team averaged a respectable rating of 6.25, brought down slightly by some ineffective substitute appearances, while Steve McClaren pleased the fans with the changes he has implemented so far, earning a 7.21. New signings picking up both the man and mug of the match awards; Wijnaldum was a frequent threat, scored a goal, and displayed his quality on numerous occasions, for which he was rewarded with a 7.53, meanwhile Mitrović, a 75th minute sub, immediate made an impact on the game as he flung himself recklessly into a challenge and was perhaps lucky to escape with just a yellow, but then did little else as Southampton dominated the last 20 minutes (5.00).
(You can click on player names to go to their pages)Krul - 6.40 Ratings ranged between 5.5 and 7.5
"7 - Solid performance, can't blame him for the goals and although he doesn't intercept enough aerial balls as we'd like, there wasn't any really for him to get. Wonderful save from Yoshida."
"7 - His kicking was much better than normal and he made a few decent saves. One in particular was very good. "
"6 - Doesn't come for crosses and can't kick but a few good stops."
Janmaat - 6.25 Ratings ranged between 5 and 7
"6 - Above average, but was getting caught late on as Mane raided both flanks. Prior to that, was solid defensively but offered little support going forward. Should be disappointed that Shane Long beat him to the ball for the goal."
"6.5 - Going forward was good, defensively was fairly decent I personally felt he could've done more to stop Southampton's second goal."
"5.5 - Under par for him going forward (lost the ball a high amount) and not covered in glory for the second."
Mbemba - 7.10 Ratings ranged between 6 and 8
"7 - Solid at the back, needs to work on his partnership with Colocinni as they provided too much space for the Southampton forwards - Pelle had an age for the first goal. Did provide a crucial headed interception against Pelle when he was 3 yards out."
"7.5 - Fantastic for his first game. He'll only get better as he gets used to the players around him."
"8 - Even though there are questions over him in regards to their first goal I thought it was a brilliant debut. Really great positioning and cut out lots of their attacks. I thought he was brilliant!"
Coloccini - 6.15 Ratings ranged between 5 and 7
"6 - Very rusty and unfit however not awful, not great. Was definitely flagging towards the end."
"5.5 - A bit slow at times, not the defender he was 2 or 3 years ago."
"7 - Looked like the Colo of old rather than the clown we saw last season."
Haïdara - 5.10 Ratings ranged between 4 and 6.5
"4.5 - He's an athlete. That's about it. Poor touch, slow to move the ball, can't cross, dodgy positioning."
"5 - His assist was important and generally looked a threat going forward but didn;t provide much of an end product. Defensively was worrying and failed to close down crosses for both goals."
"4 - Worst player on the pitch and the weak link in our side. Both our goals came down our left. First one we can maybe let him off for since he was miles out of position and someone should have covered but the second was a disgrace."
Anita - 6.33 Ratings ranged between 4 and 8
"7 - Game completely changed once he went off injured, he isn't a spectacular player but hugely helps us keep control of the game."
"6 - Thought he kept play ticking over well. May not have been a coincidence we struggled after he went off."
"4.5 - Suits the role he was given, but too many sloppy balls under no pressure. Hoping for better from him."
Colback - 6.60 Ratings ranged between 5 and 8
"7 - Defensively superb, got forward only a little, but did it well."
"6 - Very good at times and very frustrating at times. Kept playing the wrong balls but he was good in the tackle and made a great block. Poor attacking wise. Slowed our play down too much."
"6 - Crap until the last 15 minutes when he saved our skins twice."
Sissoko - 6.73 Ratings ranged between 5 and 8
"7 - Looked very good in the first half, created our best chance."
"7.5 - I thought he was fantastic today, created a shed load of chances and defended well when he had to. Can see why McClaren wants to build around him."
"6.5 - Game of two halves. First half he was unreal but was knackered from about 65 mins, was barely breaking out of a jog."
Wijnaldum - 7.53 Ratings ranged between 7 and 8.5
"8 - Star man, scored a goal, looked the most threatening and positioning was excellent. Needs to help the midfield unit out when not in possession more but an excellent debut."
"7.5 - Drifted in and out of the game, but when he looked good he looked great. Cracking goal too."
"8.5 - Oh boy I like him so much already."
Obertan - 6.43 Ratings ranged between 5 and 8
"5.5 - Good assist, did f*** all else. Refused to attack a fullback that had a last warning for a 2nd yellow and made no effort to assist Haidara. "
"7 - Much better than expected. Better when he switched with Sissoko and went on the right but that was largely down to Haidara not being able to read his runs when he was on the left. Great cross for his assist as well."
"6 - Overall a poor game but that doesn't tell the whole story. He can be very threatening and always worries defenders but obviously playing on the left did not suit. Couldn't cross off his left peg and was ineffectual for large periods. Saving grace was a magnificent cross for second goal - from the right flank off his right foot. If McClaren persists with him, then play him down the right. Offered little defensive support to poor Haidara."
Cissé - 6.50 Ratings ranged between 5 and 8
"5 - Good instinct to make sure we got the goal, what you expect from your number 9. Apart from that I seemed to notice him going down/diving more than anything else."
"6.5 - I'm no Cisse hater but he was total s*** to start with, improved after his very lucky goal."
"7.5 - Another goal, better hold up play than often."
Tioté - 5.13 Ratings ranged between 4 and 6
"4 - Thought we were playing with 10 men for long periods. Offered no defensive protection to back 4 sometimes which allowed Mane to waltz in twice. Clearly not match fit."
"5 - Looked rusty and off the pace, but guess that is down to not having played much football since January."
"4 - Poor. Shouldn't have been on the bench never mind came on as he's clearly nowhere near fit enough. Off the pace and we collapsed completely and were lucky not to lose the game once Anita came off for Tiote."
Mitrović - 5.00 Ratings ranged between 3.5 and 6
"5 - Rash challenge - not a red but still rash - too little time to make an impact but like Cisse wasn't offering an outlet to relieve pressure."
"3.5 - Did nothing, he'll get better with more games. Stupid foul when he came on."
"N/A - Cracking first tackle, got the crowd going. Perhaps a little to eager with it but we love a strong tackle. Maybe could have been sent off for that elbow not long after being booked. Didn't get a chance with the ball though as the midfield had gave up (weren't fit enough to play more than 75 mins) by the time he came on."
de Jong - N/A
Subbed on with ten minutes to go, only three members opted to rate his performance, each going for a 4.00.
McClaren - 7.21 Ratings ranged between 6 and 8.5
"6.5 - Set up well, question marks over his Obertan decision, I didn't really rate his substitutes I'd have brought on Perez & Aarons for Obertan & Cisse. Had us playing some very nice stuff though until Mitrovic came on. It then seemed to all go route one which worries me."
"8 - Good for the most part, no real problems with the starting line up, Aarons should have been on over SDJ. Overall we were miles ahead of where we were last season."
"7 - Not the team I would have picked but I can see why he picked it. Has us playing some nice football. We absolutely dominated Southampton from the offset and if we had a striker who contributed a bit more we should have been out of sight by the 75 minute mark. Once Anita came off we lost our shape and lack of match fitness played a part as well in the last 15 mins. You can tell Southampton we're a couple of weeks ahead of us in terms of playing competitive football. Still though that sort of collapse was poor and in truth we were lucky not to lose the game in the last 15 mins. Thankfully Mane couldn't finish his dinner never mind a chance. Overall though promising signs and a lot is positives to take as well as a few areas to work on."
"8 - A great start. Blew away the cobwebs, used Anita well. Being better on the ball and more dynamic made this the best match to watch in ages. Now the real test begins."