The Magpies are third from bottom of the league table but are only in the relegation zone and have a game in hand on most of their relegation rivals.
The North East club have not played a competitive fixture since 13 February due to scheduling and their early-round FA Cup exit, and they return to action against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night.
McClaren was keen to stress that his club's survival is still in their own hands and insisted that as long as his players show the right attitude in the remaining 12 matches, they will still be in the top flight next season.
He told the Chronicle: "The group is relatively a very good squad all round, very good. The talent is in there. If we show character and fight in the next 12 games we will be OK. If we don’t show character and fight then we will be touch and go.
"It’s in our hands. We play all the teams in and around us. You can have all the talent in the world but we have to show that character and fight. We have to grind out results and find a way to win on the road."
The former England boss is right to highlight the club's away form as a key area that must be addressed; his side have lost six away matches in a row in the Premier League ahead of the trip to Stoke.
Newcastle have a relatively kind schedule in the next few weeks, and with several big clashes against fellow strugglers on the horizon there is a chance for them to pull clear of safety.
After the trip to the Britannia in midweek they host Bournemouth, and though they then face a tricky trip to league leaders Leicester City, that is followed by the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland at St. James' Park and a trip to Norwich City.