Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren does not believe his job is on the line ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Norwich City at St James’ Park.
McClaren is yet to taste league victory in eight games at the helm, with the 6-1 thrashing at Manchester City before the international break the most brutal reverse he has endured to date.
Nevertheless, the former England boss is confident he retains the support of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley in the build-up to a match that his team head into at the bottom of the table and with just three points to their name.
“This is Newcastle and there is always scrutiny on you from day one,” he said.
“But I’m experienced enough to know that, to handle it and deal with it. That’s really not a problem.
“There’s no feeling that everything in the garden is rosy and even if we win a few games, there needs to be changes.
“At every football club, if you’re together and they know you’re doing the job and you’re doing the right things and the players are responding, then wherever you are they’ll say ‘you know what, we’re on the right lines’.
“In the end, the loyalty they [the board] showed Alan Pardew was rewarded and I have the belief that is exactly the same with me as long as we continue making progress, which I believe we are and they believe we are.”
Norwich are winless in their past three top-flight outings and lie six points better off than their opponents in 13th.
Nevertheless, Carrow Road boss Alex Neil believes all the pressure ahead of this weekend’s encounter is firmly upon his opposite number.
“I think it probably applies more pressure to them rather than anything else, having not won and certainly being at home as well. There will be a lot of pressure from their fans for them to go and win the game,” he told Norwich TV
“We’re desperate to win the game as well, so we need to make sure that we approach it properly. If we can do as well as we can, then we’ve got a good chance.
Norwich shared a pair of draws against Derby County when McClaren managed the latter team in the Championship last season and Neil is expecting a similar challenge from his Newcastle side.
“They’ll be very similar to Derby when Steve was there. They’re quite expansive when they’ve got the ball and it’s going to be an open match I think. Hopefully we can come out on top.”
Rob Elliot will start the match in goal for Newcastle after Tim Krul suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament injury on international duty with Netherlands.
Gary Hooper and Lewis Grabban are set to come back into contention for Norwich following ankle injuries, although midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu (foot) remains sidelined.
Key Opta Stats
– Newcastle are unbeaten in five Premier League meetings with Norwich (W3 D2), keeping four clean sheets in the process.
– Norwich have never won at St James’ Park in the Premier League (D1 L5); only at Old Trafford have they played more often without winning (D1 L6).
– David Silva (6) is the only player with more Premier League assists this season than Wes Hoolahan (5).
– Newcastle have not scored or conceded a goal to an English player in the league this term.
– Steve McClaren is now without a win in 12 Premier League games (D5 L7), including spells at Middlesbrough and Newcastle.