McClaren urges Magpies fans to have 'blind faith'

LONDON • With just two points from their first six Premier League games and pressure mounting from the stands, Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has called on the supporters to show "blind faith and belief" that the club will turn things around.

Newcastle are one of three teams still searching for their first league win of the season and have only local rivals Sunderland below them.

The Magpies hosted Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup yesterday and face tough games against champions Chelsea and Manchester City in the league.

McClaren, who has described the club's start to the season as a "bit like a car crash", said he understood the fans' frustrations but called on them to be patient.

"A bit of blind faith and belief that eventually we will get it right, turn it around and start performing and winning games. Yes, we will eventually do that," he told reporters.

"As a supporter, with what happened last season, and then the expectation of this, it is a little bit of blind faith that is needed.

"We don't need to be told, we know what is going on.

"We know what we have to do, we know the solutions, we just have to go out there and do it."

Newcastle fans will hope to avoid a repeat of last season when they failed to record a win in their first eight games.

They needed a victory over West Ham on the final day to ensure their Premier League survival.

The club spent a reported £50 million (S$108 million) to bring in five new players to the squad, with four of them slated to strengthen Newcastle's attack.

But the goals have not been forthcoming, with the team scoring just three in the league so far.

And Newcastle's problems worsened on Tuesday when defender Steven Taylor was ruled out for eight weeks.

McClaren also dismissed reports of problems in the dressing room, with injury-plagued midfielder Cheick Tiote and out-of-form forward Papiss Cisse receiving some heavy criticism.

"There's been no problem with Cheick. He's not a bad egg at all.

"He hasn't been able to build up his fitness but I know Cheick well and I couldn't be any stronger in terms of saying that he's not any trouble," McClaren said.

"Papiss is Papiss, and he goes around with a smile on his face. That's the culture that he's got."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'McClaren urges Magpies fans to have 'blind faith''. Print Edition | Subscribe