By Tom Blackburn

Steve McClaren has suggested that his job title had a major bearing on his failure at Newcastle.

McClaren was named the head coach of the Magpies last summer, while his successor Rafael Benitez was given the title of manager.

The former England boss believes the distinction was key to his struggles, which ended when he was sacked by the club in mid-March.

Talking to Sky Sports News McClaren is convinced that Benitez has a great opportunity at the club now he has been given a free reign.

“Rafa has gone in there and has got total control over the media, over staff and over recruitment which are really the three most important areas, especially as a manager.

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“The club have allowed Rafa total control of the football side to go forward and get out of the Championship.

“The business side of the club is second to none – what Mike Ashley has done over the last six or seven years, he’s really got Newcastle on a firm footing.

“So that financially they’re making profit after profit each year.”

Newcastle missed out on safety by two points, despite a late revival inspired by Benitez.

Many expected the Spaniard to leave the club this summer but he has dedicated himself to bringing Premier League football back to Tyneside.

In addition to praising Ashley, McClaren backed Benitez to win instant promotion.

“Management is tough wherever you are and Newcastle is probably one of the toughest places but Newcastle is a great club and can be great again,” McClaren told Sky Sports News.

“It’s got magnificent facilities, a magnificent stadium, 52,000 great fans.

“They have allowed Rafa total control of the football side – as I hoped they would. [That’s what is needed] for this club to go forward and get out of the Championship.”

In other Newcastle news, they are hoping to trigger the release clause of a 16-goal Spain striker.