McClaren: I compromised too much at Newcastle

Ian Watson

Former Newcastle boss Steve McClaren has admitted his failure to impose his will at St James’ Park cost him any chance of making his reign on Tyneside a success.

McClaren was sacked in March after steering the club to just six wins in 28 Premier League games – a run of form which ultimately cost them their top-flight status.

And McClaren insists it is imperative his successor Rafael Benitez is given more control as the Spaniard seeks to steer them to promotion from the Championship at the first attempt.

McClaren told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek: “I’m frustrated with my time at Newcastle and especially with the way it ended.

“I went in with my eyes open and I knew the situation I was getting myself into, but the mistake I made was that I compromised too much.

“You have to go in and lead and manage. I compromised too much especially early on, instead of saying, ‘we need this, we need this, we need this’.

“They’ve gone down because we conceded too many goals and didn’t recruit centre-backs, and we didn’t recruit enough strikers, we had injuries and bad luck and the main thing is the mentality.

“The mentality of the team was that they would play well against top teams, but they couldn’t win the games they should have won against the lower teams.”

While McClaren insisted he retained a say in the players brought into the club during his spell in charge, he described the policy of only signing players under the age of 25 as a mistake.

And he said he believed the club’s hierarchy will have learned from their mistakes and will afford Benitez the opportunity to assume total control of the playing side.

McClaren added: “They’ve decided to go with Rafa Benitez and I hope they’ve allowed him control of everything.. most importantly he can control recruitment and maybe change the policy of the time which was only recruiting players under 25 and I think that restricted the recruitment process.

“You need experience and that wasn’t possible, and I think with Rafa being in there he will be allowed to take control.”