McClaren – The First Four Games Are Key

The first few games of the season look really tough for Newcastle, with the first four games being Southampton (H), Swansea (A), Manchester United (A) and Arsenal (H), before the International break,  and that’s followed in a few games by Chelsea coming to St. James’ Park and a trip to the Etihad against Manchester City.

So we hope that spurs Newcastle in the transfer market this summer to really strengthen the side.

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Steve McClaren – first four games are key

Here’s the first tough eight games of the season for Newcastle.

Saturday, August 8
Southampton (H)

Saturday, August 15
Swansea City (A)

Saturday, August 22
Manchester United (A)

Saturday, August 29
Arsenal (H)

Saturday, September 12
West Ham United (A)

Saturday, September 19
Watford (H)

Saturday, September 26
Chelsea (H)

Saturday, October 3
Manchester City (A)

Steve McClaren talked on the Newcastle web-site about the games:

“Last week I was appointed head coach and that was a great moment, but when you get the fixtures through it really hits home and creates that extra buzz and excitement.” “We have a home game up first, which is always good.”

“It is a home game against a top-eight side and a very good team. Southampton had a tremendous season and probably over-achieved from what they thought at the beginning, so it is certainly an exciting fixture for us.”

“You want to test yourself against the best straight away, especially if you are ready.” “The first four games are key. Then the international break comes along, so you can have a breather and a break and have a look at things.”

“But to have last season’s top four inside those opening couple of months is going to be a real test, but one we will relish.” “It gives us a real edge going into our pre-season schedule, knowing that the work every day is vital and you have to be ready.”

“I experienced the local derbies of Sunderland against Middlesbrough, but this is a little bigger and will be great to be a part of.” “I had a good record against Sunderland but that is not important now. It was a while ago. I am now head coach of Newcastle, we have lost the last five derbies and it is about time we reversed that.”

“I used to work out points for certain games and months, but not anymore.” “Instead, you have to go into every game preparing to win it and believing you can get three points every time you set foot on the pitch.”

“If your preparation is right and you get the results then you move onto the next game and don’t look any further forward than that.”

“It’s a cliché but we will take each match one at a time.”  “The next thing to look forward to is the players coming back for pre-season and then we can really get going.”

That’s a good point that it doesn’t mean much to have targets for each game, with the main thing being to prepare properly, and concentrate on the next game and what the game plan is.

Then the lads have to try to execute the game plan perfectly, and if that happens we’ll get more wins than losses next season.

And yes, there’s a little bit of hope in that statement too – but Newcastle really need a season where we can be in the upper half of the table all season.

It’s not good fighting against relegation.

Steve should be fairly close to announcing his backroom staff before the end of the week, and it would be good to get our first signing completed fairly soon.

Comments welcome.