Steve McClaren talked a lot about confidence last week. And I mean a LOT.
Newcastle United’s head coach used the word 34 times in his media call when previewing last weekend’s game against Liverpool.
It was labelled as his latest “buzzword”, with McClaren having previously talked a lot about “progress” since taking charge at the club.
Well, there was progress at St James’s Park on Sunday.
And McClaren’s team will take a lot of confidence from the result – and their performance – against Jurgen Klopp’s previously in-form team.
United, however, remain in trouble.
The club is still in the Premier League’s relegation zone, albeit level on points with 17th-placed Bournemouth, and only a run of results will lift McClaren’s side away from the foot of the division.
McClaren himself admitted after the Liverpool match that there had already been too many “false starts”.
No argument there.
McClaren will speak to the media later this week ahead of Sunday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The might be another buzzword. But it would be a surprise if McClaren talks about next month’s transfer window, which is in danger of becoming the elephant in the room at St James’s Park.
McClaren has refused to talk about transfers in recent weeks.
Is he just focused on getting the most out of what he has between now and the New Year?
Or is he not allowed to discuss the obvious need for reinforcements?
The 54-year-old has a place on the club’s board and, ostensibly, a say on the incomings and outgoings at the club.
So you’d think he is in a position to at least say there are a couple of areas which need strengthening.
United, let’s be clear, do need to do business next month. A quick glance at the league table underlines that.
I sat through countless Press conferences where an uncomfortable Alan Pardew had dodge and deflect questions about the strength of his squad for fear of going off-message at Newcastle.
It was only in the final couple of weeks of his tenure late last year that, unprompted, he opened up and pointedly talked about the need for a striker.
It seemed like a clear message to the club’s hierarchy.
As it was, he left before the Janauary window opened.
And guess what? The club didn’t sign the striker that Pardew felt was needed.
The team, of course, struggled for goals in the second half of the season.
As January approaches, it would be good to hear McClaren, as both head coach and board member, open up.
But those journalists that follow the club aren’t holding their breath.