Steve McClaren goes on defensive at Newcastle and admits team has no identity – yet

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren’s ready to go back to the future at Newcastle United – and build from the back.

The club is second-bottom of the Premier League with six games played.

It’s about results, and we have to try to find a way of playing. We have to be pragmatic.

Steve McClaren

Newcastle were found wanting all over the pitch in Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Watford.

Head coach McClaren has tried to implement a brand of attacking football at United, but he has admitted he must first address his leaky defence.

At Middlesbrough, McClaren had to build from the back, and he has admitted he is considering a more “pragmatic” approach on Tyneside when asked about his early experiences on Teesside.

And the 54-year-old said: “That’s something we will have to question and look after every game.

“Can we be free-flowing? Can we be this or that? What identity have we got?

“And we are still searching for the best team. We are also still searching for the best identity within the personnel we have got here. It’s about results, and we have to try to find a way of playing. We have to be pragmatic.”

McClaren added: “I don’t think we have an identity yet.”

Newcastle’s players were booed off the pitch against Watford, but McClaren he saw enough in the first four games of the season to persuade him that there is no need to panic.

“I have seen enough in those first four games – the attitude and the spirit,” he said.

“At times, we were a little bit naive in terms of losing our shape and wanting to win things and do things.

“There’s enough in that dressing room. We have seen enough not to panic and to stay calm. There is no crisis, but only we can turn it round. We must keep working.”