After the latest friendly against Sheffield United, Steve McClaren is still in a state of disbelief at the pre season schedule he has been landed with.

The Newcastle Head Coach said before heading off to America that he felt it was far from ideal, with the amount of travelling involved being counter-productive – his point of view being that staying in Europe was a far better option for any Premier League club.

Especially one that has the number of problems Newcastle need to sort out.

Yesterday McClaren also talked about the additional stupidity of arranging another friendly so soon after the players stepped off the place from America, the former England boss saying that ‘the main thing’ he took from the game was that he was simply relieved to come away from it without any injuries.

Not exactly what you want to hear when the Premier League season is only two weeks away – anything but perfect preparation.

Steve McClaren’s comments followed those of Gini Wijnaldum, who spoke after opening the scoring at Bramall Lane.

steve mcclaren

The Dutch midfielder saying the 10 hour flights either way were bad enough, but that he and other players were also suffering from jetlag, the former PSV man saying he was waking in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, including on Saturday night/Sunday morning before the Sheffield United match.

Great to hear the new United boss being so candid about the shortcomings at the club, rather than the flannel we got used to hearing from Alan Pardew. You just have to hope that Steve McClaren will be given the authority and can be allowed to get on with instilling much needed professionalism throughout the club.

Plus hopefully Mike Ashley will look at the friendlies so far and accept that the signings of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum (and hopefully Mbemba) are only simply scratching the surface, after year after year of failing to invest properly in the squad.

Steve McClaren:

“I think we got through it (without injuries), that was the main thing. This was always going to be a difficult game, two or three days after 11 days in America.

“I think we started well and as the game went on, the legs just weren’t willing to move. I thought they (Sheffield United) were a very good team.”

This is what we have to deal with:

“Unfortunately, this is the schedule we had put before us and we have had to deal with it.

“The players kept trying to do the right things, it wasn’t quite working. I was pleased with the start and the way we played football and I think generally we controlled the game (first half). Then we went in at half-time and go out again, sometimes it is difficult to get started again (when players are tired) and that seemed the case against a very lively Sheffield United team.