Arsenal v Newcastle: McClaren fired by frustration at Magpies’ plight

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren
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Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren admits to frustration and anger over the Magpies’ Premier League plight.

But he is determined to enjoy a better second half of the season. Newcastle have picked up just 17 points from the first 19 games this term, ahead of today’s tough trip to table-topping Arsenal.

McClaren, though, says he will handle the pressure.

“I’ve been here before and I still don’t like it – I never liked it before and I still don’t like it now,” said the former Middlesbrough boss.

“Frustrates, annoys, angers, disappoints – but it’s no good doing nothing about it.

“We’re working hard to change things and keep plugging away. Really knowing the people behind the scenes, they’re different to some other places the people behind the scenes who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“But the people here are the kind of people behind the scenes who really want to make a success of this.

“There’s a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes which you probably can’t see and which isn’t necessarily showing, but hopefully in the second half of the season it will show.”

Asked if he would become a pessimist and start to think the Tynesiders could be relegated, McClaren added: “I never become a pessimist. I’m surrounded by good people, good staff.

Is that enough though?

“We will see. You can’t say at half-time. I’ve had many a nightmare first half, but the second half has been terrific and a turnaround. That’s the kind of thing we need – and expect.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called for “patience” when asked about the Magpies’ predicament ahead of the game. “He has only just joined the club,” Wenger said.

“Newcastle is a very exciting project, because it’s a very big club and it’s a fantastic and exciting job for a manager like Steve McClaren, but it is a long-term job.

“This club has a huge potential, and in six months it’s impossible to transform a club of that stature into a club competing for the Premier League “Give him time. I know that patience is not the first quality in our society but, unfortunately to be successful, you need it.”

McClaren, for his part,added: “We have always said it would be difficult.

“The evidence says that work needs doing. I think everyone knew that at the beginning and certainly everyone knows that halfway through.

“All I can say is we are prepared to do the work.”