Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer says Sam Allardyce explained to him how Sunderland stopped Crystal Palace earlier this week - and it was a method the Magpies didn't use, according to BBC Football.
That method earned the Black Cats a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Monday night. Newcastle, by contrast, lost 5-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Shearer told Match of the Day: "I spoke to Sam Allardyce and said what was your plan? He said it was simple: stop Bolasie and Zaha. Newcastle could not do that and did not get near them. They were brilliant from start to finish."
Shearer's comments beg the question: if Allardyce can get Sunderland's defence to isolate Crystal Palace's biggest threats, what's Steve McClaren's reason for not doing the same?
Both are experienced English managers and just look at how bad Sunderland's back four were before Big Sam came in.
Is it laziness or just ineptitude from McClaren? Or are Newcastle's players simply that bad - and that unwilling to listen to instructions - that no manager will be able to sort them out?
You have to ask yourself whether Allardyce could sort this Newcastle defence out were the roles reversed. He might just have done so. McClaren is running out of both time and excuses.