Steve McClaren says Aleksandar Mitrovic “needs to calm down”, with the Newcastle head coach willing to alter his approach to help the striker.
Mitrovic was signed for £12.5million from Anderlecht in the hope of leading the line for McClaren’s men in terms of goals, but the Serbian instead received two almost instantaneous yellow cards in his opening two games, culminating in a straight red card against Arsenal last month.
The 20-year-old will begin his three-match suspension against West Ham on Monday night, but McClaren is adamant that something much change with Mitrovic’s mentality.
“Absolutely we’ve got to revise our approach,” he said. “We’ve spoken a lot and I think it’s the over enthusiasm and wanting to do so well.
“From day one that’s what we’ve seen. We’ve said to him, “Don’t work so hard!”. He wants to work day and night.
“That over enthusiasm has led to him getting a reputation in such a short time. And we’re like, “Woah, where did that come from?”.
“It’s always the same when players join clubs and have a big move, they want to do well. But he’s been getting himself in trouble.”
McClaren remains adamant that Mitrovic intended to cause no harm to Francis Coquelin in receiving his red card against Arsenal however, although the club opted against appealing the ban.
“There was no maliciousness in the tackle, it was just clumsy,” McClaren said.
“But you’ve seen in his general play he’s quite aggressive anyway. We don’t want to take that away but he needs to calm down.
“He needs to have the fire in the belly but the ice in the head. He needs to control his emotions and he knows that. He will identify that himself but he wants to score that first goal.
“His first goal doesn’t have to be spectacular but it will come. We’ve told him not to force it, which is something he’s been doing.”