Steve McClaren was cheerful when he met the media yesterday.
McClaren had been anything but cheery after Newcastle United’s defeat at the Boleyn Ground on Monday night.
The club’s head coach has had a lot to think about over the past few days.
Newcastle’s problems are twofold and quite simple, really.
The team doesn’t score enough goals. And it concedes too many.
Easy to diagnose. Harder to correct.
Spearking at his pre-match Press conference ahead of this afternoon’s home game against Watford, McClaren admitted that he didn’t yet know his best team.
Certainly, most fans think Ayoze Perez should be in the starting XI.
United need his energy and enthusiasm, but McClaren, surely, would have liked to have seen another goalscorer arrive at the club in the summer.
Newcastle spent more than £50million, but was that enough?
Anyway, McClaren must make do with what he’s got until January, when the transfer window opens.
The 54-year-old made his name as an innovative coach, and he must coach, coax and cajole his players between now and then.
United need to play with pace and purpose, and it’d be a surprise if both Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback, used as defensive midfielders up to now, start.
Hopefully, by 4.45pm he’ll be a lot closer to finding a system, and a starting XI, that works.