Steve McClaren


By Dominic Scurr

 

Steve McClaren is hoping to address Newcastle United's away form "character flaw" at Stoke City on Wednesday night (7.45pm kick-off).

The Magpies have not had much fortune on the road in the Barclays Premier League this season with just two victories and seven goals scored to date.

However, the boss believes United have a good opportunity to turn things around against a Potters outfit who have only won two of their previous eight games at the Britannia Stadium.

"We need to be harder to beat away from home," McClaren admitted.

"I'm really looking forward to the game tomorrow, I think it's a good challenge and a good opportunity to show that we can do something.

"Our away form has not been good enough. We have to start demonstrating the character needed to win these away games.

"It's a character flaw that we need to put right. Too many times things have gone against us away from home and we haven't reacted well and that's why we've lost.

"Tomorrow is going to be a great test for us. Stoke will be a very difficult game because they're a very good team with good players.

"I know (Marko) Arnautović well, (Xherdan) Shaqiri is scoring goals as well and (Ibrahim) Afellay is looking like a good acquisition, so they have a big threat.

"Given our away form most people probably don't expect us to get anything and we've got to go there and prove people wrong."

McClaren has also been left frustrated by the contrast in Newcastle's away performances compared to those at St. James' Park, where they are unbeaten so far in 2016.

"It's one extreme to the other," he continued.

"We were fantastic against West Brom at home and then we lost 5-1 to Chelsea and it should have been more.

"It's the most frustrating team I've worked with in that respect because I know this team should be winning more games.

"But it's about the here and now and winning matches. To do that we have to keep clean sheets and score goals. We have struggled to do that, especially away from home and that's why we're in the bottom three - the table does not lie.

"Every time you go away from home it's a great test of character - we need to start passing it."