Steve McClaren has called for fans not to judge his Newcastle United side until 12 games into the new Premier League season.
Newcastle have picked up just a point in their opening two matches, holding Southampton to a draw at home before the 2-0 defeat away to Swansea City.
McClaren’s side had to play more than half that game with 10 men following the red card shown to Daryl Janmaat and McClaren insists it is too soon to judge how well his team will do this season.
The £13m arrival of Florian Thauvin has given the squad a big boost ahead of the lunchtime kick-off against Manchester United on Saturday.
And McClaren says the trip to Old Trafford will represent a “big test” of his player’s character as they look to end their seven game losing run away from home in the top flight.
McClaren said: “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 [against Southampton] was very encouraging, this week I thought the first 40 minutes we recovered well after a bright start.
“After that, nothing. So we move on.
“This week we have a big test of character at Old Trafford.”
Thauvin yesterday joined Newcastle from Marseille on a five-year deal to take the Magpies’ summer spending to £50million.
The £13million deal, which saw Remy Cabella go the opposite direction on a season-long loan which could be turned permanent, ends a long search for the winger
He joins Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba and youngster Ivan Toney through the door at St James’s Park this summer.
But McClaren says it is far too early to judge how his squad will perform, especially given they were a man down for much of the Swansea defeat.
“You can’t win in the Premier League with 10 players and it’s obviously very difficult against a very good Swansea team,” added McClaren.
“We lost Sissoko as well and we had a mountain to climb, so I don’t think you can judge us on that game and performance which is a shame.
“Kind of a waste of game when we need to learn about the players and what we can do and go about things.”