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Following Newcastle United’s second relegation to the Championship in less than a decade, Steve McClaren, who was sacked by the Magpies earlier this campaign, has spoken out:
“I firmly believe that if I had remained in charge, our relegation would’ve been confirmed a lot sooner.
“I wouldn’t have given the Magpies fanbase false hopes of actually staying up. It would’ve been clear throughout that we had no hope of remaining a Premier League outfit. Meaning the fans could’ve made their peace with that early on.
“I actually look at my time at St James’ Park as one of my finest career achievements, as I believe that I’ve prepared the club perfectly for their decade in the second tier.
“I didn’t sign one player without checking that he wasn’t good enough for the Premier League but was of a suitable level for the Championship.”
Rafael Benitez, who replaced McClaren at the beginning of March, will point to the heroic point earned against already-relegated-Aston Villa as an example of what he could’ve achieved had he been appointed sooner. However, it remains to be seen as to whether the former Champions League-winning manager knows that Burton Albion is a real place, let alone whether he will remain in charge of the Magpies.