Steve McClaren has been given a new ‘key’ word to use by the club’s PR people.

The Head Coach revealing in La Manga that it is all about ‘focus’.

McClaren says that it is all about ‘focus’ as to whether Newcastle win or lose matches.

In this brief interview with the Chronicle, Steve McClaren uses the word (or variations of it) six different times within a few sentences.

This though pales into insignificance when he used certain words over 30 times during various press conferences this season.

Back in December it was revealed by The Mail that the club had tasked Steve Black with the job of coaching Steve McClaren before press conferences. The Head Coach then repeatedly using the same words and phrases over and over again to deflect criticism and give a more positive message – for example words such as ‘process’ and ‘feisty’ were used, plus ‘confidence’ was said over 30 times in the pre-Liverpool press conference.

If only ‘focus’ was Newcastle United’s sole problem.

You don’t have a record of 17 defeats in the last 20 away matches (11 in 14 under McClaren) where focus is the only problem. Scoring only seven goals away in the league (none of the other 91 clubs in the top four divisions has scored fewer) all season isn’t just down to ‘focus’ either.

The real problems at Newcastle United are many and varied but a lack of ability, an unbalanced squad (desperately short at the back and up front), the coaching, tactics and team selection are just some of them.

After 26 Premier League matches you don’t end up in the relegation zone just because of a problem with ‘focus’.

Steve McClaren talking to the Chronicle:

“It’s about focus. That is the key word.

“When this team is focused and really truly focused, when they have got their game heads on, we are a good team that can serve up good performances – like the West Brom game.

“If we aren’t focused and we get disrupted by certain things, or our routine is upset, or this or that isn’t right…and we aren’t actually focused come kick-off time, then we are vulnerable.

“That has been the message to the players – when the team are focused and have that intensity in preparation before games, the game takes care of itself.”

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