McClaren confident he would have saved Newcastle from relegation

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Steve McClaren was sacked at Newcastle Friday morning as the Magpies sit in the relegation zone with nine matches to play.

The 54-year-old Englishman lasted only nine months at St. James’ Park, a tumultuous time that saw him under heavy pressure from the moment he took charge.

[ MORE: Newcastle appoint Rafa Benitez ]

McClaren started the Premier League season without a win in his first eight matches and was never able to recover. Despite losing 16 of his 28 league matches in charge, McClaren still believes he would have been able to keep the Magpies safe from the drop.

I am obviously very disappointed with the decision.

I appreciate any frustrations relating to the team’s results and the club subsequently finding itself in a battle to avoid relegation.

I remain confident, however, that we would have stayed in the Premier League with a view to building for next season.

While McClaren sounds confident now, his side surely hasn’t shown that confidence on the pitch. The club has stumbled through the season with three separate three-match losing streaks, leading to public comments from McClaren about how frustrating they were to manage.

[ VIDEO: Analyzing the Premier League’s relegation battle ]

Newcastle spent big in both the summer and January transfer windows, although results have not followed. Now it is all up to Rafa Benitez, who has nine matches to keep one of England’s most historic clubs up in the Premier League.