McClaren hoping for strong second half

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren is hoping his side can put in a decent effort during the second half of the season as they aim to steer clear of a relegation scrap.

Newcastle currently find themselves down in 18th position in the Premier League stadings, having only picked up 17 points from 18 games.

A 1-0 defeat against Everton on Boxing Day has put them back into the relegation zone and McClaren knows that his team will need to make a drastic improvement over the next half of the season if they want to remain in the top flight.

"It is like a football match – we are coming to the end of the first half and two halves are completely different, and we hope our second half will be better," said McClaren.

"There are still 20 games to go, so still plenty. Hopefully the second half will be better."

Newcastle would have found themselves out of the bottom three had they avoided defeat against Everton, and McClaren will need an improvement when they face West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

"It's a big test for us on Monday and whoever travels to West Brom, we need the crowd as well," he added.

"West Brom is a mentality test as much as a physical one. We will try to recover, get some energy into them and I might have to use the squad, but we have to get on with it."

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