Steve McClaren says his youthful Newcastle United team must “grow up” – and fast.
Georginio Wijnaldum, aged 24, was the oldest of the club’s summer signings.
The policy of the club is not going to change. We are going to sign young talent, whether that is here or abroad.Steve McClaren
And none of Newcastle’s five acquisitions had experience of the Premier League.
Head coach McClaren has suggested he would have liked at least one older head with experience of English football’s fiercely-competitive top flight to have arrived at St James’s Park before the transfer window closed earlier this month.
United’s new arrivals are on a steep learning curve, with Monday night’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham having left the club bottom of the league ahead of this afternoon’s home game against Watford.
But McClaren – who had been keen on Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin – has conceded that the club’s policy of mainly buying young talent from overseas won’t change.
Asked if he would have liked a proven Premier League player, he said: “In hindsight, it is great.
“But the policy of the club is not going to change.
“We are going to sign young talent, whether that is here or abroad. I think it is a young team – one of the lowest average ages – and I think that showed in the second half (against West Ham United) on Monday. What we have to do is make it grow up.”
McClaren says the only time he has been “angry” since taking over at St James’s Park was after Dimitri Payet’s second goal at Upton Park.
“Look, we have had five games, and the only time I have really been upset was 25 minutes after the second goal at West Ham,” he said.
“We reacted well after the first (goal from Payet). It could have been a different story had the keeper not made a great save from (Daryl) Janmaat, but 2-0 was the only time I had been angry.”
Asked about the “belief” in the dressing room, McClaren said: “That grows, and that will grow with performances and results.
“I think that has grown to a certain degree in the first four games. It was a terrific performance and result at Manchester United.
“Nobody expected to get us a point there.
“West Ham, Arsenal and Swansea were always going to be difficult. Southampton, first game, we got a point.
“You can look, overall, and say ‘you know what, the first eight games ... they are tough for a new team and coaching staff trying to create something new and different’.
“That is tough. We knew it was going to be tough and painful and you have to go through it.
“What you have got to do is, when you get that, like Monday, you have got to get a reaction and we have to get that against Watford.”