Steve McClaren says that the opening four Premier League matches are going to be key to Newcastle’s season.

United face Southampton (H), Swansea (A), Manchester United (A) and Arsenal (H) before the end of August and then the first international break.

Chelsea home on 26 September and Manchester City away on 3 October means that within the first eight matches, United will face all thetop four from last season and indeed six of the top eight.

However, Steve McClaren says he is ‘relishing’ that prospect and says that every day in pre season will be vital in terms of getting ready for the challenge.

With only two weeks to go until pre season training begins and 23 days until the first friendly, with no coaching staff appointed and no players signed, looks like the new Head Coach had better be getting ready to rumble.

Steve McClaren talking to the official club website:

“Last week I was appointed head coach and that was a great moment, but when you get the fixtures through it really hits home and creates that extra buzz and excitement.

“We have a home game up first, which is always good. It is a home game against a top eight side and a very good team. Southampton had a tremendous season and probably over-achieved from what they thought at the beginning, so it is certainly an exciting fixture for us.”

Want to test yourself against the best:

“You want to test yourself against the best straight away, especially if you are ready.

“The first four are key. Then the international break comes along, so you can have a breather and a break and have a look at things.”

Every day in pre season is vital:

“But to have last season’s top four inside those opening couple of months is going to be a real test, but one we will relish.

“It gives us a real edge going into our pre-season schedule, knowing that the work every day is vital and you have to be ready.”

To see the full list if Newcastle’s Premier League fixtures go HERE.