LONDON • Steve McClaren greeted his first league victory as Newcastle United manager on Sunday with a combination of deep relief, a sense of vindication and a dose of caution after a performance at St James' Park that veered dramatically between good and bad.
After a desperate introduction to life on Tyneside, in which his team had mustered their worst start to a season since 1898, McClaren's side dazzled with a startling 6-2 win over Norwich City.
While McClaren, who joined Newcastle in June, has never been under significant threat, three points were vital. "Of course you need that first win," he said. "It's a huge relief."
There was also positivity. "It shows our capabilities, that's what I'll take from it," he added. "We've been threatening that but today it's come together. When we do things right, we've shown we can be a threat."
With north-east rivals Sunderland to come this weekend, McClaren refrained from jubilation and acknowledged that this was "not a game that was under control from anybody. That's not good for you as a manager".
Having set a standard, Newcastle must live up to it. "I'm so pleased for the players and the fans, but I've said all along that we couldn't get too down after (losing 1-6 to) Manchester City and we're not going to get too high after this."
McClaren paid tribute to Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored four times. "He's shown he can be and will be a Premier League player. Now we need consistency, a little bit more, it's one of the reasons why we won't get too high after this. We won't get carried away," the manager said.
Alex Neil shared similar sentiments. "Everyone has learnt a lesson from this," said Norwich's manager. "It was a real good match, both teams had chances to win. But we've got to deal with it and put it to bed.
"We've overcome setbacks before. It's about getting everything into perspective. Offensively, we were very good but, defensively, we let ourselves down. There was a lot that was good about our performance but we've conceded six goals."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN