McClaren to wield the axe
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Teessiders lost 2-0 at Bolton last weekend, in a display which had many fans wanting answers from their beleaguered boss.
The former England assistant has now admitted that the time has come to make some tough decisions.
"Enough's enough," McClaren said. "Our pride is hurt, my pride is hurt after the start we've made and it's time to put things right, it's time to get back to basics.
"I've got some very tough decisions to make, and those decisions may not be popular.
"The players, the fans and the staff might not always be happy with them, not everybody will like them, but that's my responsibility because that's my job.
"I'll take those decisions because it's what I'm paid to do. To build this club up, that's what I have to do.
"There's no excuse. We've got reasons - you could point to using 20-odd players, we've had injuries and not had our squad together until now - but they don't matter.
"We've got to go back to basics, we've got to look at how we're playing and how we're set up and we need to simplify things, that's what we did in my first year here.
"We need to start building a foundation, being hard to beat, all the things which we built this team on over the past two seasons.
"We lost that in the first five games."
Many are now speculating who the changes could affect, but Juninho, Jonathan Greening and even goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer could be dropped on Sunday when they face Everton.
Juninho was brought off in Saturday's game at The Reebok Stadium, much to the displeasure of following fans - but McClaren could ignore public sentiment and drop his World Cup winner.
French star Franck Queudrue will definitely start following the end of his five-match suspension, but the rest of the team will remain under wraps until Sunday.