Newcastle’s Perez issues lukewarm McClaren backing; Board holds talks

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As Newcastle fans issued a scathing takedown of current manager Steve McClaren, Magpies striker Ayoze Perez backed him.

Kind of.

[ MCCLAREN: Won’t step down | Loss was “going down material” ]

Relative to the lukewarm displays Newcastle has seen on the field, Perez stood by McClaren in a sense. He admitted that McClaren is his manager, and so he’s going to play for him.

He also said fans deserve better from the Magpies.

From the BBC:

“He is our manager, we have to be with him,” he added.

“If something changes, I don’t know what’s going to happen – but right now we are with him because he is our manager.”

The rumors from St. James Park are that Newcastle hierarchy is using Monday to decide whether to fire McClaren, who has won just 22 percent of his matches this year. He’s done far better in stints at Derby County and Twente, but these are dire times in Northeast England.

Reports in Newcastle say David Moyes and Rafa Benitez are among the managers who could be tapped to replace McClaren if he’s fired on Monday.

Newcastle is in 19th place in the Premier League, a point behind 17th place Sunderland and six back in goal differential. Whoever is in charge after this weekend’s match against Leicester gets consecutive matches against No. 18 Norwich and No. 17 Sunderland, the latter an almost unimaginably-high stakes Derby.

Do they want to trust McClaren in this spot?

Then again…