Steve McClaren confident he retains Mike Ashley's support at Newcastle
Under-pressure Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren is confident he has the continuing support of owner Mike Ashley as he attempts to drag the club out of a dreadful tail-spin and implement his philosophy.
The Magpies head into Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with promoted Norwich at St James' Park rooted to the foot of the table and without a win in their opening eight games.
McClaren, who was given the target of a top-eight finish when he accepted his job during the summer, had asked people to judge him after 10 games, and that point is rapidly approaching with the picture looking less than rosy.
However, he believes progress has been made amid a tough opening run of fixtures - his team lost 6-1 at Manchester City last time out - and that Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley remain firmly in his corner.
He said: "If you're together and they know you're doing the job and you're doing it right and you're doing the right things and the players are responding, then wherever you are - be it Newcastle or whatever - they'll say, 'You know what, we're on the right lines'.
"We've got to make sure we do the right things and do the right job and go through the right process and if the club can see that... That's what John Carver demonstrated and obviously what Alan Pardew demonstrated. That's what you call a loyalty.
"You don't have loyalty if people are thinking. 'This ain't going to get any better'. That's at any club.
"They knew that John Carver, with what happened last season, was doing the best he possibly could, the same with Alan Pardew. In the end, that loyalty - especially with Alan - was rewarded.
"I have the belief that that is exactly the same with me. As long as we continue making progress - which I believe we are and they believe we are - then we keep going."
The recent departures of Dick Advocaat and Brendan Rodgers from Sunderland and Liverpool respectively have brought McClaren's situation into sharper focus, but that is not something which concerns him.
He said: "There's always scrutiny on you, isn't there? This is Newcastle. Always, from day one. But I'm experienced enough to know that, to deal with it and handle it, and it's really not a problem.
"The problem is bloody winning football matches."