LONDON • Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren conceded that the club are "close to a crisis" after Wednesday's 1-0 loss in the League Cup third-round match to Sheffield Wednesday extended their horror start to the season.
The Magpies have lost four games in a row this season and their only win was against League Two side Northampton in the previous round of the competition.
"Is the job harder than I thought? Absolutely. Without a doubt," said the former England manager, who has won just three of his last 21 matches at Derby and Newcastle.
"People say it's a crisis and it's getting very close to it. We deserve to be criticised."
Lewis McGugan's 76th-minute goal gave the Owls a shock 1-0 victory at St James' Park. Wednesday were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin, having hit the crossbar twice in as many seconds.
Their reward is a home tie against Arsenal in the fourth round, despite Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal making 10 changes to the Championship side that beat Fulham 3-2 on Saturday.
McClaren made five changes from his side that fell to Watford, with Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Cisse, Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback and Massadio Haidara making way.
A chorus of boos greeted the Magpies at the final whistle, and McClaren now has to galvanise his side ahead of tomorrow's English Premier League clash against champions Chelsea.
Despite spending over a reported £50 million (S$108 million) to bring in five new players, four of them to strengthen Newcastle's attack, Newcastle are the lowest scoring club in the league having scored just three goals so far.
"That (booing) was deservedly so. That's what happens when you lose games you should win," he said. "I'm not embarrassed, I'm angry, I'm disappointed.
"We told the players, 'You can't feel sorry for yourselves. You have got to come out on Saturday and be a fighter.'"
Carvalhal was delighted after steering Wednesday into the fourth round for the first time since the 2001/02 season, when they reached the semi-finals.
"I am very happy with the players," said the Portuguese. "They were perfect in (executing) the strategy for this match. They gave 100 per cent, so I am very happy with them." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE