Obertan Slams Previous Newcastle Regimes - Claiming "Spirit Is Totally Different" Under McClaren

The Frenchman seems happy with the fresh set-up at St James'.

Gabriel Obertan has praised Steve McClaren's approach to management at Newcastle United and taken a veiled swipe at previous Toon regimes by claiming the Magpies now have a "spirit" to come back from behind that was simply not present before. Describing the atmosphere around the St James' Park dressing room as "totally different" to how it was "last season" - when Alan Pardew and then John Carver were in charge respectively - Obertan believes Newcastle showed a belief they can be "proud of" to come back against Southampton, something they struggled to do in 2014-15. Trailing to a Graziano Pelle header on Sunday, the Magpies came from behind to go 2-1 up before being pegged back by a late Shane Long goal. Obertan admits that Newcastle had "trouble" getting back into games when they conceded last season, but that things have completely changed now.
The Frenchman provided the deliciously-whipped cross for Georginio Wijnaldum to put Newcastle in front with a header, after Papiss Cisse had chested in the opener from a Massadio Haidara delivery. The Magpies rarely came back from a losing position to draw or win a game under Pardew and Carver respectively, and Obertan told NUFCTV (paywall) after the game:
"Yeah (I was surprised Newcastle fell behind) but you know that's what happens sometimes - you feel like you're in control but the team in transition is pretty good and they end up scoring and we knew Pelle is quite good in the air. "So we were surprised but we got back in the game quite good too and we managed to score the second one. Overall we're quite happy with the performance but we've got to concentrate on improving and not conceding so we can win the game. "It's not surprising to us (that Newcastle fought back). Last year we had trouble coming back into games, conceding goals and we let (ourselves) down sometimes but I think this year is totally different. "The way the staff have got us working and the spirit we've got is totally different and I think we saw that today and it's something we can be proud of."
Speaking about his own contribution to the Magpies' opening-day Barclays Premier League draw, Obertan admitted he was happy to provide an assist for debutant Wijnaldum. He continued (NUFCTV, paywall):
"It was a good game overall. I think we controlled the game (until) around the 75th minute but then got a bit crazy - we conceded the second goal - and then it got a bit crazy. They had good chances after that but I think a point is well deserved today. "I just went for it (the cross for Wijnaldum's goal). When Papiss (Cisse) gave me the ball, he knows I'm pretty quick so that's what I expect from my teammates to play on my qualities. "He put the ball quite far away from me, I won the race from my defender and then I just tried to put it in as best as I could into the box and Gini was there just at the right time."
CLICK HERE to read the Match Report from Newcastle United 2-2 Southampton.And CLICK HERE to read the Player Ratings from the game.Finally, CLICK HERE to read "10 Things We Learned From The Game".For all the latest NUFC News, Views and Transfers make sure to follow on Twitter and Facebook.
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NUFC editor for History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.