LONDON • Steve McClaren has been given no assurances about his future as manager at Newcastle United and has conceded that he does not know if he will be given time to reverse the club's slide down the Premier League.
McClaren, who was appointed in June, has overseen 16 matches during a difficult spell at St James' Park. But his position is already being considered by the club's hierarchy, with owner Mike Ashley delegating any decision to Lee Charnley, the managing director.
With Charnley's credibility at stake - he made repeated attempts to lure McClaren from Derby County last season before appointing him on a three-year contract that could be extended to eight - there has been no desire for more upheaval in the dugout.
Yet, the continuing prospect of relegation is being taken seriously.
McClaren met Charnley and Keith Bishop, Ashley's adviser, on Wednesday, but discussions did not centre on his role.
"It was a normal, routine weekly meeting," said McClaren.
Although he insisted that the mood of the talks was "absolutely" positive, he has not been told that his job is secure. "I wouldn't ask for (assurances) and I wouldn't expect to receive that," he said.
Newcastle are second from bottom despite a transfer outlay of more than £50 million (S$105 million) this summer.
McClaren, who also serves as a Newcastle director, has - to the club's irritation - already intimated that more players must be bought in the January transfer window.
He is unlikely to be dismissed after tomorrow's home league game against Liverpool, but Charnley expects there to be significant improvement from Newcastle's heavy defeats by Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
"It's football, so you never know," McClaren said. "You go into every job knowing the impatience of football and that you need results. We know what the situation is."
He used the word "confident" or "confidence" 34 times in his weekly press conference on Thursday.
"Five (league) wins in a year doesn't bode well for confidence and that's one of the things we have to turn around," he said. "Many say that the players don't care or don't try, but it really is as simple as confidence - and our confidence is very fragile."
THE TIMES, LONDON