Steve McClaren has admitted to “concerns” ahead of the new season – as he’s playing catch-up at Newcastle United.
McClaren was appointed as head coach in June as the permanent successor to Alan Pardew.
And the 54-year-old has just one more friendly in which he can finalise his team for the August 9 season-opener against Southampton at St James’s Park.
Newcastle wrap up their warm-up campaign with a home fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach at St James’s Park tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
McClaren and his staff have been attempting to implement a new playing style in pre-season.
But he admits time is running out for him to make the necessary changes before the new campaign starts.
“I’m like every manager,” said McClaren, whose side were beaten 2-1 by York City on Wednesday night.
“You always have concerns – you never quite know where you are at, especially when you have just come in and you try to establish something and you are trying to play catch-up and get to know everybody.
“That’s what I am doing. I’m learning a lot.
“It has been short, but we have 10 or 11 days to go. They will be interesting days.”
Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, signed from Anderlecht in a £13million deal, made his debut against York.
The 20-year-old had had just one training session with his new team-mates ahead of the club’s visit to Bootham Crescent.
And McClaren felt the Serbia international was slightly off the pace given that he hadn’t trained properly for a week.
“He showed what potential he’s got,” said McClaren.
“It was normal because he had not trained for seven days and missed that half a yard.
“That’s how far away he was in the box with each chance he had. He has that bit of devil about him, he’s a very good signing.
“He is going to be a big asset for us. It’s good to get him in. He needs a little bit of training.
“I told him half a game, but he wanted to play more so he has those minutes in his legs.”
After the York game, McClaren said Mitrovic had a bit of the “devil” about him on the pitch.
McClaren feels that Mitrovic will be a handful for Premier League defences.
He added: “He loses the smile and innocence when he crosses the white line. He’s a real footballer and real warrior.”
Reflecting on his debut, Mitrovic said: “I’ve only had one training session and one game.
“I wanted to score, but I was a little unlucky. Maybe it will happen on Saturday, or if not then against Southampton – that’s the most important game.”