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Conjecture will not be enough to keep Steve McClaren at Newcastle

16 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Conjecture will not be enough to keep Steve McClaren at Newcastle

The Magpies' manager must know his position - he needs wins, starting against Norwich at St James' Park on Sunday

Steve McClaren does not look at the Premier League table.

That, though, was not the most bizarre thing he said in his pre-match press conference for the visit of Norwich on Sunday.

Describing the first eight games of the campaign as an “extended pre-season” or claiming goalkeeper Tim Krul is worth up to 20 points – he neglected to show his working out – are contenders for that dubious honour.

A man who is not renowned for his self-awareness, even McClaren must realise that what he said was daft.

His intention, presumably, was to use the media to strengthen his already-weakening position as Newcastle manager.

That is what great managers do, after all.

The problem, of course, is that McClaren is only a decent one.

But he should be doing better in his role.

And when he finally glances at the division’s standings, he will realise the club’s precarious position is, unlike his conjecture, indisputable.

Following their 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, the Magpies are bottom on three points and already five points adrift.

A result – and reaction to that desperate second-half performance at the Etihad – is required against Norwich, then.

Newcastle are 6/4 to record their first win of the season and, despite the gloom that surrounds the club – Krul being ruled out for the season is the latest inconvenience – it might just come against Alex Neil’s side.

McClaren’s side actually impressed in the first-half against City, taking the lead through summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first goal for the club.

The 21-year-old Serbian striker was also impressive against Chelsea at St James’ – a 2-2 draw that the spirited home side should have won – and he has the power and pace to trouble the Canaries.

Mitrovic scored 28 times for Anderlecht last season and is 11/1 to do so first in a Newcastle win this weekend.

Norwich, meanwhile, have not won in the league since the start of last month.

Despite drawing at Liverpool and West Ham in their previous two away trips – they are 23/10 to make it three in succession on Sunday – they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Leicester at Carrow Road last time out and are yet to keep a clean sheet in the top flight this campaign.

That should embolden a Newcastle side that has scored in three successive games, while their recent record against the visitors – no losses in five meetings and zero goals conceded in four of them – is also encouraging.

McClaren does not believe his job is under threat and, while it is admirable that the manager seemingly retains the support of Mike Ashley, an immediate improvement is necessary if he is to continue.

The former England boss did say one sensible thing this week, however, explaining that the “problem is [mild expletive redacted] winning football matches”.

That sums it up.

Sunday, therefore, is the perfect opportunity to put that right.

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