As Newcastle United’s dismal season continued on Wednesday night, Steve McClaren admits the job he accepted in the summer is tougher than he expected.
The Magpies are currently kept off the bottom of the Premier League courtesy only by their rivals Sunderland, who also have two points from their opening six matches yet have a worse goal difference. A 4-1 win over League Two side Northampton Town in the League Cup is United’s only success, and their participation in that competition is now over after another dismal night.
Despite making ten changes to the side which beat Fulham 3-2 last weekend, Championship side Sheffield Wednesday still had enough to inflict an embarrassing 1-0 defeat on McClaren’s side at St James Park. This is a new low in a season littered with disappointments already, and the former England coach admits his side are on the verge of being dragged into a crisis.
“Is the job harder than I thought? Absolutely. Without a doubt,” he said following the loss to the Owls. “People say it’s a crisis and it’s getting very close to it. We deserve to be criticised. We say how far do we have to go before we turn it around, because the players are capable of doing that. We can’t talk about it, we have to do it. There’s not a lot you can say, no excuses.”
McClaren has now recorded just three wins in his last 21 games as a manager, dating back to last term when his Derby County side were chasing promotion from the Championship only to collapse and miss out on a playoff spot. Next up for Newcastle is the visit of Chelsea, yet with the champions yet to find anything like their peak, the home side will be looking to kick-start their season.