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.



  • 1957

    I think McClaren is taking a grip of the club and is using decisions taken before he arrived to put Charnley in his place regarding how the football side will be run in future. He has a free pass in terms of what he says about the football side at the moment and is using it well, having said that it’s not hard to pull apart the inept actions of the previous coaching outfit.
    I get the feeling, and the more cynical on this site will disagree, that the tide is starting to turn in terms of the running of the football side of the club, for example the players coming in look like they are ones McClaren is happy with and has a plan for with something wasn’t always the case with Pardew.
    It may be just that the previous incumbents were so incompetent that anyone is an improvement but I’m cautiously optimistic.

  • Conman

    He needs to get on with it and stop bleating. No, it’s not great but other teams are still in the four corners of the planet.
    He has two weeks to bring in another couple of quality signings and shape the team into something capable of winning a few games.

  • Steve1221

    Give it a break with the constant need to bring up Pardew Jackie, if Pardew had given the exact same interview this would be an article about him making up excuses.The schedule might not be ideal but it’s certainly no worse than what the top 4 are going through.

  • ArtyH

    1957 Yes I tend to agree mate. It would be nice to think we have closed the book on the last era and opened a new one this season. That remains to be seen. For me IMHO he is probably doing the best with what he has got and has to wait until possibly next summer ( two windows ) to actually stamp his authority on the team. He has been provided with three hopefully decent players this window, maybe as a gauge for the board to judge his ability to mange the team and what he is given. To me this poses two possibilities 1) He does great and the team get into the top 9, then the board are satisfied and do not invest any more, 2) He bombs and they think he is like the last shower and do not invest. Sorry it does not sound to good, I’m just looking at the past performance of the regimen we are lumbered with, its credo is making money, or saving money. What makes it worse is the fact as a club we have been starved of investment for years and while it would be a shock ( and unlikely ) £100m spent on players now would still be construed as under investment over 5 years. Now back on track, I am cautiously optimistic also, mostly because I am sick of feeling let down, but that may change. I would still advocate not renewing tickets yet as I believe there is still time for a sting in the tale. However that would be reversed if we signed a commanding C.B and did a deal with QPR involving a player swap ( make weight ) for Austin. Then I would say the board had served the fans and the club to the best of their ability. Here’s hoping. HWTL

  • v0ices

    Conman I think hes having a bit of a panic attack now he knows just how poor his squad  is in particular the defence where we dont have a single premier league cb and no starting lb.

  • Polarboy

    Wasn’t Carver organising pre-season before he was sacked? I mean he did manage in the North American league didn’t he? It really wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this is Caver’s schedule we are lumbered with.

  • 1957

    He made a big thing of telling the media he was involved in the detailed planning for Pre season when he thought he would get the job because Mike and Lee were telling him they wre happy with his performance. If they ever told him that it’s one Ashley lie we can be grateful for.
    Carver committed us to the testimonial on Sunday, Chris Morgan was Captain when Carver failed as temporary manager at Sheffield United and they are apparently friends.

  • Polarboy

    1957 Yeah, sorry, managed Sheffield UTD as opposed to played for them, I knew it was one or the other. So it would seem with your added info it’s very likely that Carver is the architect of this terrible pre-season. I can’t even begin to think how depressed and disinterested I’d be if they hadn’t got rid of Carver and co.

  • 1957

    You would have been depressed, instead of talking about players coming in we would have been counting them out? Ashley may have got little right in his time at NUFC but getting rid of the previous set of clowns is a plus.

  • On hols

    Why not organise some friendly games in Holland /Belgium next year?? Good chance to scout more players and also stop the ones we’ve got from being home sick!

  • Cornflake

    Some of the North American tour stops confuse me a bit.  With all the games on local tv across Canada and United States, the stops are in these super small markets that aren’t also known as ethnically diverse cities.
    How a team like Sutherland can get a game in Toronto and we’re in Milwaukee is somewhat laughable.  West Brom goes to Florida, and we go to Portland??  I understand why Chelsea, Man United, Man City and even Tottenham to an extend get marquee locations, but why are we going to such small markets.  Not taking away from their fans, they’re great, just the if your coming over to build your fan base, these aren’t where you go.