Steve McClaren has said that he and his players can only be judged after 12 matches.

Last season Alan Pardew said we should wait until 10 games.

Every manager says similar things at certain times, especially if they make a bad start…

With one point from two matches, Steve McClaren:

“Every game is tough. Like I said at the beginning of the season, I don’t think you can judge us until we are 12 games in.”

“Last week (v Southampton) was very encouraging, this week I thought the first 40 minutes we recovered well after a bright start (for Swansea). After that…nothing, so we move on. Next, we have a big test of character at Old Trafford.”

So what can we expect after 12 matches?

The next 10 games to take us up to that point are:

Man Utd (a), Arsenal (h), West Ham (a), Watford (h), Chelsea (h), Man City (a), Norwich (h), Sunderland (a), Stoke (h), Bournemouth (a)

Last season, in these equivalent opening 12 fixtures (substituting last season’s first three matches against promoted sides for the three above against Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth), Newcastle took 12 points out of 36.

Wins against Chelsea (h), QPR (h) and Leicester (h), plus draws when playing Swansea (a), Burnley (a) and Stoke (h).

What about when we look at what happened last season, in Alan Pardew’s first 12 games?

Newcastle of course made a disastrous start to the season and didn’t win a game in the first seven Premier League matches – October 18 was when we had to wait until seeing a win, at home to Leicester after the infamous late start due to a flappy scoreboard.

As is Newcastle’s way, we of course won five in a row starting with that Leicester victory.

No wins in seven then became only three defeats in 12…such is the way of statistics.

So where did all this put Newcastle after the opening 12 games?

Well, it put United on 19 points and in fifth position in the Premier League, plus it put a very very smug face on a certain Alan Pardew, after the early criticism.

Needless to say, after those five matches in a row (in games 8-12), Newcastle then proceeded to win only five of the following 26, under Pardew and his hapless sidekick, John Carver.

So who fancies Steve McClaren to pick up 18 or more points from these next 10 PL matches to beat or better Pardew’s record last season…?

Hard to see much return from Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Away to West Ham and Sunderland are problematic – even if the mackems look really rubbish.

Then you are left with the three promoted clubs and a Stoke team that have also had major investment this summer on top of that in previous seasons, plus some decent work in the transfer market in terms of bringing in quality, plus I hate to say it but Mark Hughes has got them playing much better football.

Patience is looking the word because I have a feeling that even with Florian Thauvin added, Newcastle are massively a work in progress and a lot more than 12 games will be needed before we see the best of the French winger, Mbemba, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum.

However, IF the players can prove me wrong and get close to that 19 points total Pardew fluked last season, then it could set up a very enticing rest of the season, with little risk of repeating that record of five wins in the other 26 matches.