Steve McClaren has hinted that he shares former Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew's views of the Europa League - and also those supposedly held within the corridors of power at St James' park - believing it "hinders" Barclays Premier League clubs as "the seasons goes on". Back in December 2013, Pardew admitted that the Europa League could become a "massive problem" to Premier League sides and that, although he wanted to qualify for the competition with Newcastle, the club should be "wary" of it. Talking about the fact the Magpies face a Southampton side who have just qualified for the next round of the Europa League on Sunday (1.30pm kick-off), McClaren stated that although European competition does not harm sides on the opening weekend, it will have a negative impact as the campaign progresses. Newcastle are aiming to end a three-game losing run against the Saints - during which time they have conceded 10 and scored just once - but McClaren believes it will be "tough" because the Ronald Koeman's are already "into their rhythm", having started their campaign earlier. Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, McClaren said (NUFCTV, paywall):
"Of course they can do it again. Same players, improved a little - okay (they) lost a couple but replaced them very well last season. They've had a good year last season, they're in Europe.
"Does that hinder them? I think it will do as the season goes on.
"But does it at the beginning? I don't think so.
"I think that because they've started competitive games earlier they're into that rhythm and we need to get into that rhythm very quickly. So, as we've expressed already, tough start and a tough first game."
McClaren also confirmed that new signings Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba, as well as captain Fabricio Coloccini, are in contention to play on Sunday.
NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.