McClaren backing Maccarone
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The former Empoli star has just returned to the Boro fold after missing the start of the season through injury.
He is now pushing for a place in McClaren's starting XI, who have so far struggled to find the back of the net this season.
Maccarone could start his first game of the season at Tottenham on Sunday and McClaren said: "Massimo started like a house on fire last season but we knew his first season would become difficult and we expect a lot more from him in his second season.
"Massimo was very unlucky to get injured but now we're looking for him to show his maturity and deliver for us.
"He got nine goals last season and got nine assists so he creates quite a few goals with his movement and overall play. Now he's fit I feel like I've just signed a new striker. He will play a part on Sunday.
"Everybody saw the potential he's got last season but Massimo did find it hard to adapt after his honeymoon period," McClaren added.
"He found it difficult to adapt to the culture, the language, being away from home and the faster more physical nature of English football.
"Everything combined to make it a very unsettling season for him but he's a lot happier this season. One part of his game he needed to improve was the physical side and I know he worked very hard on building himself up with weights in the summer.
"He came back to pre-season with a much more aggressive attitude, everyone could see he had a physical presence about him."
McClaren admitted that Boro's poor star to the new season was not pleasing.
"We are very concerned, we are not happy but we are not worried," he said.
"Performances have been very good, we are playing very good football and creating chances but we're not scoring goals and that's the difference between winning and losing. We have to be ruthless.
"Scoring is not just the strikers' responsibility, players like (midfielders Gaizka) Mendieta, (Boudewijn) Zenden, Doriva and (Jonathan) Greening are all capable of scoring.
"We're not panicking but every club needs a striker who gets 15-20 goals a season. For the past four years or so Middlesbrough haven't had that. However we believe we have one in this club now."