English Premiership

McClaren in desperate need of results

2015-09-15 12:56
Steve McClaren (AFP)

London - It took Steve McClaren several years to overcome his image as a figure of fun, standing on the touchline at Wembley under an umbrella as the rain poured down and England were eliminated from the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

A "wally with the brolly" tabloid newspapers dubbed him.

After some restorative work abroad with FC Twente and Vfl Wolfsburg, he returned to English football for an unsuccessful spell with Derby County and his reputation is in danger of sagging again unless Newcastle United, who he joined in June, quickly improve on their early-season results.

McClaren's nemesis that wet Wembley night, Croatia's coach Slaven Bilic, was in the opposite technical area again on Monday as West Ham United's 2-0 victory sent Newcastle to the bottom of the Premier League with two points from five games.

It was the north-east club's fourth successive league game without scoring, despite a net spend during the summer transfer window estimated at more than ‎£41 million, second only to Manchester City's.

Newcastle's passionate supporters have long been urging controversial owner Mike Ashley to spend some serious money to strengthen the squad. Now that he has done so, McClaren risks becoming the new target of their anger.

Critics have pointed out that his four main signings all came from Belgium, the Netherlands and France, with no experience of English football.

To be fair, the most high-profile of them, Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, has hardly helped with his indiscipline.

Given a yellow card less than five seconds into his debut against Southampton, he was sent off for an even worse challenge against Arsenal and banned for three matches, starting with Monday night's game.

Newcastle must therefore continue to do without him for their next fixtures, at home to Watford on Saturday and Chelsea on Saturday week.

McClaren was an assistant to Alex Ferguson when Manchester United won the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in 1999, and was England manager from 2006-07.

He has been in football long enough to know that results are everything, so he understands better than anyone that Newcastle need some positive ones and quickly.


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