Steve McClaren: Improving Newcastle’s defence was my first priority

Steve McClaren

McClaren was looking to improve one key area when he took charge of Newcastle.

Steve McClaren took charge of Newcastle over the summer, and he has told the Chronicle that improving the Magpies defence was the first job he wanted to complete as head coach.

McClaren said: “I think that when I first came through the door I looked at 63 goals and I thought: ‘That’s far too many and we’re going to be in trouble if we do that. Let’s stop them.’ But you know we also have to be able to score and that’s been the part of our game that we’ve not really seen enough of yet.”

The Tyneside club are certainly a much more robust side than they were last term, when their 63 goals was conceded was the second highest in the division.

So far, this season, the Magpies have conceded five goals in four games, including two of those games which saw the club end with 10 men on the field of play.

Previously underperforming players have started to play well again - with Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor deserving of praise - whilst summer signing Chancel Mbemba looks the part as a top flight defender.

However, McClaren’s work at improving the defence has cost them in another area, with their play in the final third far below the level required in the Premier League.

They have netted just two times this season, both in the opening day draw with Southampton, and their goal tally is the lowest in the division.

McClaren arrived at the club wanting to improve the defence, and he has seen that job through. However, he needs to to work his way further up the field of play to ensure that the Magpies do not fall adrift in the Premier League due to a lack of goalscoring power.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch