McClaren hints he felt sorry for Mitrovic last season.

Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic shoots at goal

Newcastle United relied on the 21-year-old Serbian for goals last season.

Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic shoots at goal

Quoted by The Chronicle, former Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has admitted that he needed another striker if he was to have any chance of succeeding on Tyneside.

McClaren was sacked by the Magpies in March in what proved a failed eight-month spell in charge of Newcastle, who were later relegated from the Premier League.

Under the 55-year-old, two strikers were signed last summer - Aleksandar Mitrovic for £13 million and youngster Ivan Toney, who joined for £500,000.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scores the second goal for Newcastle

As it were, 21-year-old Mitrovic, in his first season in English football, was forced to lead the forward line for much of the 2015-16 campaign, scoring nine goals in 34 Premier League outings.

It turned out that Mitrovic was not prolific enough in front of goal, and McClaren suggests that he felt sorry for the young Serbian for having to shoulder so much of the goalscoring burden.

“We only had one striker - poor Mitrovic on his own for the majority of the season," he told Sky Sports, via The Chronicle.

“We needed back-up for him, so we didn’t score enough goals."

Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney and Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic

Mitrovic, to his credit, did show promising signs of life under new manager Rafael Benitez, but it remains to be seen if the young hitman will stay with the Tyneside club following their demotion to the second tier.

His personality and work ethic have already made him something of a fan favourite among the supporters but, let's face it, those two qualities on their own will not see Newcastle bounce back. They need goals more than anything.

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates after scoring the first goal for Newcastle

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch