Steve McClaren: Why I failed at Newcastle

Steve McClaren has revealed why he failed at Newcastle United in his first interview since his sacking as head coach.
Steve McClarenSteve McClaren
Steve McClaren

McClaren lasted just eight months in the St James’s Park hotseat before being dismissed with the Magpies in the bottom thre of the Premier League.

The former England boss says he failed to impose his will on the job, and compromised too much to the demands of the Newcastle heirarchy.

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In particular, he pinpoints the failure to buy experienced players – chiefly in central defence and up front – as one of the reasons for Newcastle’s struggles.

McClaren told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek: “I’m frustrated with my time at Newcastle and especially with the way it ended.

“I went in with my eyes open and I knew the situation I was getting myself into, but the mistake I made was that I compromised too much.

“You have to go in and lead and manage. I compromised too much especially early on, instead of saying, ‘we need this, we need this, we need this’.

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“They’ve gone down because we conceded too many goals and didn’t recruit centre-backs, and we didn’t recruit enough strikers, we had injuries and bad luck and the main thing is the mentality.

“The mentality of the team was that they would play well against top teams, but they couldn’t win the games they should have won against the lower teams.”

Newcastle were big spenders under McClaren, but their summer transfer business saw young Anderlecht pair Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic join along with Florian Thauvin and Georginio Wijnaldum.

All four players were under 23 and without Premier League experience, and while Newcastle did address the latter in January when they signed Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey, many of the problems were too deep-rooted by then.

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McClaren was replaced by Rafa Benitez, and he hopes the Spaniard will be afforded the opportunity to assume total control of the playing side.

McClaren added: “They’ve decided to go with Rafa Benitez and I hope they’ve allowed him control of everything.

“Most importantly he can control recruitment and maybe change the policy of the time which was only recruiting players under 25 and I think that restricted the recruitment process.

“You need experience and that wasn’t possible, and I think with Rafa being in there he will be allowed to take control.”