Belfast Telegraph

Give Steve McClaren the time with Toon, urges Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

By Mark Bryans

Arsene Wenger believes Newcastle should keep faith in manager Steve McClaren.

The former England boss has struggled to achieve consistency since being appointed at St James' Park in the summer and takes his side to the Emirates Stadium still stuck in the Premier League relegation zone.

The 54-year-old McClaren has already come under pressure despite recent wins over Liverpool and Tottenham.

But Wenger, whose side will be looking to maintain top spot with a win over the Magpies, feels his counterpart deserves more time.

"He has only just joined the club," Wenger replied when asked about speculation over McClaren's future.

"Newcastle is a very exciting project because it's a big club and it's a fantastic and exciting job for a manager like Steve McClaren, but it is a long-term job.

"(Newcastle) has a huge potential and in six months it's impossible to transform a club of that stature into a club competing for the Premier League. Give him time.

"I know that patience is not the first quality in our society but, unfortunately to be successful, you need it."

A Fabricio Coloccini own goal was all that separated the sides when they met in the north-east back in August.

Newcastle had to wait until October for their first league win but Wenger reckons McClaren's squad possesses the quality to cause problems to his side.

"They had a difficult start and they lacked a little bit of confidence," he said.

"That always shows at home more than away from home. Away from home they have had quite good results and performances."

Meanwhile, McClaren has told Newcastle to get physical with Arsenal as he attempts to kick-start the club's season once again. McClaren said: "It is about collective organisation and discipline - and a certain amount of aggression will be required.

"We have come across many, many good players in every team. Ozil is just another one of them which we will have to contend with. But they have others - [Olivier] Giroud is scoring goals left, right and centre, [Theo] Walcott is coming into form, [Aaron] Ramsey is a very good midfield player."

Few around St James' Park will need reminding of the Magpies' trip to the Emirates on December 29, 2012, when they returned on the wrong end of a remarkable 7-3 scoreline.

Newcastle's current fragility is a cause for concern, but McClaren remains confident that when they are at their best, they can give anyone a game.

He said: "We know on any given day we can beat anybody in this league. But we also know that on any given day we can lose."

Belfast Telegraph


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