Steve McClaren: Why I HAD to name that Newcastle defence in Portland

Lubomir Satka in action against Portland

Lubomir Satka in action against Portland

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Steve McClaren has explained his team selection against Portland Timbers.

Newcastle United’s head coach left half a dozen players out at Providence Park, where his team was beaten 4-3 in the early hours of this morning.

McClaren fielded Shane Ferguson in central defence and also named Gael Bigirimana, Lubomir Satka and Rolando Aarons in a makeshift back four.

Portland took advantage, and were leading 4-1 until Rolando Aarons’ dramatic late intervention.

The winger, restored to midfield after the break, netted two goals, the first a stunning overhead kick.

After the friendly, McClaren said Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson and Jamaal Lascelles couldn’t play on the artificial surface at Providence Park.

Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren

“We had six of seven who couldn’t play on this surface, and quite a few played who we only wanted to have a small amount of time (on the pitch) because of troubles they get,” said McClaren.

“In that respect, the key thing was that everyone came through safely and no injuries. We’ve more or less done that.”

On the defence, he added: “In the first half it was a makeshift back four. We had no centre-halves, really.

“They couldn’t play on this surface. That was always going to be difficult.”