Ian Wright believes there is too much pressure on Newcastle's players.
Ian Wright has told The Sun that Newcastle do have better quality than Sunderland - but the pressure on the players makes it hard for them to succeed.
Two draws and four defeats mean that Newcastle look just the same as the did last season, even after McClaren splashed out to sign the likes of Chancel Mbemba, Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin and Aleksandar Mitrovic this summer.
Fans are naturally disgruntled at their start to the season after being promised an improvement over the summer - and supporters no doubt thought that it couldn't get much worse having only avoided relegation to the Championship on the final day of last season.
Yet as Newcastle sit at the bottom of the table alongside their North East rivals Sunderland, fans will feel that things have indeed got worse - and former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has told The Sun that McClaren's problem lies with the expectation levels on Tyneside, before comparing the Newcastle squad with Sunderland's.
"The problem that he's got, is that the pressure at Newcastle is top four pressure, and a team that is a bottom four team," said Wright. "That is not the kind of mix that you want."
"I think that they've got better players than Sunderland. But I think that the pressure Newcastle players are under, especially at home...they can't deal with the pressure of the expectation," he added.
Both Newcastle and Sunderland have been struggling for years now, and even with new managers and new signings, neither side have been able to pull away from the bottom half of the table recently.
McClaren and Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat are now charged with changing that, but given their dismal starts to the season, it doesn't look likely right now.