More to come from Newcastle promises new boss McClaren
LONDON: Steve McClaren was unsure what his Newcastle United side were capable of before the season kickoff but now believes they can go from strength to strength after their 2-2 Premier League draw with Southampton on Sunday.
Graziano Pelle gave the visitors the lead before goals from Papiss Cisse and debutant Georginio Wijnaldum put Newcastle in front but Shane Long struck an equaliser with just over 10 minutes remaining.
"We didn't know what to expect but I am absolutely delighted with what I saw," McClaren told reporters.
"For 70 minutes the team were excellent then we didn't play smart after that. I think fatigue had a lot to do with that.
"We gave the ball away and gave them opportunities to win it."
The 54-year-old, who arrived at Newcastle in June after two seasons at Championship side Derby County, was taking charge of a Premier Leaguematch for the first time since 2006 when he was at north-east rivals Middlesbrough.
He was named England boss nine years ago but became known as the "wally with the brolly" in the media after he sheltered from the rain at Wembley during the 3-2 defeat by Croatia that cost McClaren his job and England qualification for Euro 2008.
Newcastle narrowly avoided relegation last term after a dreadful second half of the season under John Carver but McClaren, who agreed a three-year deal that could be extended to eight, is confident they can be more competitive this campaign.
"Have we learned anything? We have learned so much," he said. "Can we get better? Most definitely.
"Once we get up to our fitness levels as the weeks go on, this is certainly something to build on.
"Not just the team -- the squad as well."