Steve McClaren blames the international break for Newcastle United's slump

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Newcastle United have only just returned to form after being hammered by Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

Steve McClaren has told the Chronicle that he believes the international break harmed Newcastle United’s momentum.

The Magpies drew with Stoke City and then beat Bournemouth prior to the international break in November, but when their players returned from representing their countries the side looked all at sea.

Newcastle were hammered by both Crystal Palace and Leicester City in quick succession and McClaren admits it has taken his team a while to regain their form.

"We lost something in the international break," McClaren said. 

“It took us two weeks to get that back. We were going well before that.

“Credit to the players it has been a positive two weeks. Let’s not waste that, let’s respond and prove we can go on.”

Newcastle have started to show their potential in their two most recent outings, by beating Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

McClaren’s side were rarely threatened by the Reds two weekends’ ago as they picking up a very impressive victory.

They then backed up that performance by winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane and that triumph has lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Newcastle have been fighting against the drop all season but they now have some momentum behind them.

McClaren’s side’s next fixture comes against bottom of the table Aston Villa, and if they can pick up the three points there they will start putting some distance between themselves and the danger zone.

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