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McClaren deserves Newcastle chance, says Koeman

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says Newcastle United counterpart Steve McClaren deserves the chance to turn things around at St James' Park.

McClaren looks increasingly likely to be relieved of his duties at Newcastle following Saturday's damaging 3-1 loss to AFC Bournemouth, with former Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez favourite to succeed him.

Koeman faced McClaren's Twente side during the 2009-10 season, when he was in charge of AZ, and the former Netherlands international says he should be given time at the club to prove he is the right man to lead them forward.

Initially reluctant to discuss McClaren's future, he said: "No, I don't like that. They're talking so much."

He then added: "I hope he can stay because he deserves to stay to show what he showed before."

Southampton face Stoke City on Saturday looking to get their European hopes back on track after three games without a win in the Premier League.

Koeman confirmed Charlie Austin remains sidelined through injury but, with Shane Long fit to return, he has challenged his forwards to improve their form over the final few weeks of the season.

"We know we can keep clean sheets and that it's difficult to score against us. We have to keep that and improve in our attacking," he said.

"I'm a little bit concerned about scoring, not only away. We need to bring the best out of our quality players up front. We have quality but it's time to show it.

"We have our ambition to get into Europe. We know it's difficult, it's really tough to get a chance in Europe. It's all about keeping your level, your spirit and getting a good run of results."