Tuesday 25 October 2016

No giving up for confident Carver

Published 07/05/2015 | 10:01

John Carver has endured a nightmare run as Newcastle manager
John Carver has endured a nightmare run as Newcastle manager

John Carver insists he will walk away from football the day he feels he is not the best coach in the business.

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The 50-year-old Newcastle head coach finds himself in the thick of a Barclays Premier League relegation battle after guiding the Magpies to eight successive defeats, a run which has left them just two points clear of the drop zone with three games left to play.

But he firmly believes that given the right tools to do the job, he is as good as anyone around.

Carver said: "I am not going to give up, throw the towel, walk away from it. I have not lost my self-belief.

"I still feel I am the best coach around. I tell you, I ain't lost my belief - and the day I lose my belief is the day I will do something totally different. I will walk away from it or retire.

"I would be wasting my time if I lost that."

Carver's claim is unlikely to placate fans in open revolt over both the way the club is being run by owner Mike Ashley, and a season which has spiralled out of control and is threatening to end in disaster.

Last Saturday's 3-0 defeat at resurgent Leicester, during which defenders Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat were both sent off, the former prompting a remarkable post-match reaction from his head coach, proved the final straw for many.

However, Carver survived a Sunday meeting with managing director Lee Charnley and has repaired bridges which appeared to have been destroyed to the dressing room with skipper Fabricio Coloccini issuing an open letter - Carver revealed the captain's missive was unsolicited and hand-written - to fans pleading for their support over the remaining weeks of the campaign.

Alan Pardew's former assistant said: "Let's get to the summer, then everyone can have their opinion and say what they want to say. Not a problem.

"But I am not having any distractions with what goes on in the outside world with the press, the fans, whoever it is, nobody. I still believe in my own ability and the day I don't, I might as well do something else."

Saturday's home clash with West Brom represents a potentially pivotal moment in the club's season, and it appears that out of adversity, an uneasy sense of unity has formed, although just how that translates into positive action on the pitch remains to be seen.

Asked about Ashley's assessment of the situation, Carver said: "I have not had the conversation with him. He sent a message through Lee to say he was 100 per cent behind me.

"I have a good relationship with Lee - we are both honest and frank and he has been so supportive."

Carver's dissection of his team's efforts at the King Power Stadium - and particularly those of Williamson - was withering, and he is hoping it elicits a response at St James' Park this weekend and beyond.

He said: "The only proof will be in the pudding when we get to the end of the three games. That's the only way we'll tell whether it's worked or not.

"If somebody does it, and we win the next three games, they're a genius because of what's happened, in one sense. In the other sense, it would be because the players got together, and it's got nothing to do with the manager.

"It's all about the players. If that happens, great. We all want the same result, and that's Premier League football."

Williamson will play no part in the next two games because of his second red card of the season, but he and Carver have resolved their differences.

The older man said: "There are no hard feelings. Every morning, we have come in, we have shaken hands, looked each other in the eye and just got on with it because we are professional."

Papiss Cisse is available after completing a seven-match ban, but he is still working his way back from a knee problem, while Siem De Jong, who has made two appearances as a substitute after an eight-month lay-off, is a doubt with a thigh injury.

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