Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley took the unusual move of apologizing for the club’s dreadful start to the new season. Owner Mike Ashley’s right-hand man, who oversaw the appointment of head coach Steve McClaren and the club’s £52 million summer recruitment drive, has insisted the club’s hierarchy will take “collective responsibility” for recent failures. There has been only one victory from eight games to date this season — none of them in the Barclays Premier League — and an embarrassing Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Sky Bet Championship Sheffield Wednesday.

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In an e-mail to the club’s supporters prior to Saturday’s clash against champions Chelsea, Charnley said:

“There is no hiding from the fact that this has been a very disappointing start to our Premier League campaign, and a painful early exit from a cup competition that we were determined to give everything in this year. We apologise to you for this.

“After six league games, the truth is we have not achieved the points that any of us had hoped and expected we would do.

“None of us can, or will, shirk the responsibility for this situation. Now is the time for collective action, and for us to find solutions to the problems rather than allow ourselves to be consumed by them.

“It is important to state that we bear collective responsibility for our position in the table. Identifying the problems in order to find the solutions is crucial, but we are not in the business of apportioning blame. We are a team, from the boardroom to the boot room, and we will respond like one.”

“So we have sat down as a collective – myself with Steve and his coaching team, and Steve with his players – to discuss the concerns and to look for the solutions together.”

Magpies striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will return from his three-match ban at St. James’ Park, but fellow forward Papiss Cisse (back) will be missing once again. Daryl Janmaat has recovered from illness, but fellow fullback Massadio Haidara faces a late fitness test, while Jack Colback and Rolando Aarons are struggling with calf problems.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, appeared to launch an astonishing attack on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the fixture.

Mourinho was asked about the pressure on McClaren. He appeared to take the opportunity to wade into Wenger but, when when asked if he meant the Arsenal manager, declined to name the Frenchman, a long-time adversary.

“I think in this country, only one manager is not under pressure …

“Steve is under pressure, I am under pressure, Brendan (Rodgers, the Liverpool boss) is under pressure, (Manchester City’s Manuel) Pellegrini is under pressure.

“We cannot lose matches, we cannot be below expectations.

“There is one that for some reason is outside that list. Good for him.”

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