"I’m not the problem Steve, you’re the problem. Not me."
Steve McClaren faces a massive challenge if he is to retain Newcastle United's Premier League status.
With 10 games remaining this term to ensure their survival, the former England head coach indirectly hit out at a journalist over claims he had "written nothing but negative things about Newcastle" for the last 18 months.
"I've heard there have been one or two articles - probably one main article – and as I say, I don't read it" said McClaren.
"It doesn't help me win football matches and my concentration and focus are purely on Bournemouth and winning that game tomorrow.
"Someone told me about it, and unfortunately it's done, obviously, by a journalist who for the last 18 months has written nothing but negative things about Newcastle, a journalist who used to work at this football club and who four or five years ago (six), was released from this club.
"Whatever that journalist writes, I'm afraid I don't read it. That article is half-truths and half-lies. It destabilises everything we are trying to do in the dressing room. We have to ignore it."
Clearly incensed by the accusation of biased reporting, the reporter angrily responded to insinuation that he was pursuing an "agenda".
"Steve, don’t you dare accuse me of having an agenda" he replied
"You’re second bottom in the league. I’m not the problem.
After a press officer intervened, the journalist went on to say;
"No. This is a new one, Steve – is this your latest excuse? It’s a new one, I’ll give you that. I’m not the problem Steve, you’re the problem. Not me.
"Don’t you dare suggest I’ve got an agenda against you. Walk away Steve, smiling, grinning again.
"He’s been out of his depth since the minute he walked in."
Defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday would cast serious doubt over McClaren's future at the club.