Five things Steve McClaren must address in his first year at Newcastle

Newcastle Utd - Gate

The new boss on Tyneside has several issues to resolve in the immediate future before success can be achieved.

Steve McClaren enters his new role with a trail of destruction behind him from last year's campaign and must act quickly to change the club's current atmosphere. The 54-year-old knows that what he achieves next season will set the tone for his stay on Tyneside.

Here, we look at the top five issues that McClaren must address in order to rejuvenate The Magpies in 2015/2016.

Reunite the dressing room

McClaren has inherited a squad from previous manager John Carver who have lost all confidence in themselves and each other. Farcical defending, dismal finishing and a toothless midfield were all on show for much of the second half of last season and routine poor displays nearly cost the club dear. Fingers were pointed and blame was shifted as infighting took its toll on the staff and squad.

McClaren will need to use all of his man-management skills in order to bring back together individuals split by culture, personality and desire. With this in mind, pre-season will be a crucial period for the new boss to give players the faith they need in themselves, in each other and in him.

Use his vision for the club to sign the best possible players

Historically, top signings (especially foreign stars) are drawn to the bright lights of London and the North-East has always been a difficult sell. The reputation of Newcastle has been severely tarnished in the past year and top players now have even more of a reason to not sign for a club that's shown a public lack of ambition and turmoil in spades. The Fulford man has expressed his desire to win trophies, achieve top-eight finishes and bring success back to Tyneside.

With funds available to improve the squad, McClaren must impart this vision and enthusiasm onto potential signings and show them why they should pick St. James' Park over their Premier League rivals.

Get the fans on side

Despite constant denials by both Alan Pardew and John Carver in their respective reigns, both bosses were perceived as nothing more than spokesmen for owner Mike Ashley. McClaren must do something early to set himself apart from his predecessors.

The former England Head Coach has already been appointed to the club board and can influence a positive change in direction regarding the club's long and short term goals.

Most importantly, McClaren must be open in communication with fans on all levels. Whilst the news on Tyneside might not always be good, The Toon Army respects honesty and direct dialogue when it comes to the ins and outs of their club.

Take cup competitions seriously

Whilst it’s every Geordie’s dream to see their side win the Premier League, it’s a notion that fans conclude is not achievable in the near future. However, a League Cup or FA Cup win is not out of the question; just take a look at Wigan and Swansea as recent examples.

With television revenue soaring, Newcastle had made Premier League safety a priority in the last five years, publicly stating that cups were secondary. Both Ashley and McClaren have since stated that they want to see the club lifting silverware, and that means fielding the strongest team possible in cup competitions.

McClaren must introduce the players to a mind-set that each round is a step closer to Wembley. Whether home to Arsenal or away to Aldershot, no opposition should be taken lightly. A good run will get fans on side and the momentum that would follow could impact their league position too.

Play football the Newcastle way

No, this doesn’t mean going unnecessarily for broke each and every game; rather playing positive football that doesn’t result in constant squandering of possession, a lack of attacking threat and suicidal defending, all of which was on display for much of 2015.

This was best put in a banner as fans watched their team meekly surrender away to Leicester City this season in one of the worst displays in Newcastle’s modern history. High in the stands stood the infamous words: “We don't want a team that wins. We want a team that tries.” So simple, yet so telling.

Whether he will get the backing to put all of this in place, however, is still up for debate. Ashley has been notorious for sticking to his guns and McClaren may not be able to get his way when it comes to implementing his vision.

As long as he tries, however, nobody will blame him.

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