Asked if he was doing everything possible with the players at his disposal, Steve McClaren said: “Absolutely. The most difficult thing is not to get too frustrated. I genuinely think the players are giving everything.”
Although the club have completed the signing of several players, there is a sense that nothing will change unless increased attacking firepower arrives.
“It’s not rocket science,” said McClaren. “We’re just not putting the ball in the net. We’re not scoring enough goals to win games.”
The 54-year-old is under severe pressure to collect points from the West Brom game this weekend.
Newcastle’s apparent second choice for the job was Rémi Garde, struggling horribly at Aston Villa. But, like McClaren, Garde can point to his club’s policy of buying young players, often from France, as the source of the difficulties.
“I know what’s going on,” maintained McClaren.
“If we weren’t doing everything to rectify things, I’d be worried.
“If people weren’t backing me or trying to, I’d be worried.”
The fear is that, should Newcastle disappoint this weekend, the crowd could turn hostile. A foretaste of discontent came when Florian Thauvin, the underachieving £13m winger signed from Marseille last summer, was serenaded with chants of ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt” from away fans during the FA Cup defeat at Watford.
Thauvin was so gutted he told McClaren not to include him for two games, and now the player is back in France!
McClaren was reminded that losing the way Everton tormented them on Wednesday is not great for fragile dressing-room morale.
“Absolutely right,” he said. “How long before the players don’t keep coming back? How much does their frustration eventually boil over? It’s a good question.”