Wednesday 25 April 2018

Carver concentrating on results

John Carver is now focused purely on results, not performances
John Carver is now focused purely on results, not performances

Newcastle head coach John Carver is looking for results rather than performances as he attempts to halt the club's alarming slide.

The Magpies go into Sunday's clash with Tottenham at St James' Park on the back of five successive Barclays Premier League defeats and in danger of slipping from the relative comfort of mid-table to the fringes of the scrap for top-flight survival.

In the circumstances, Carver needs points to ease the mounting pressure as Spurs and then Swansea head for Tyneside, and he does not care how they come.

He said: "They are two home games that are massive for us. There's no doubt about it - we are looking for results by hook or by crook.

"If I cast my mind back to Arsenal, we performed quite well without winning. Now it is all about winning, not about how we perform. It's about the results.

"It is encouraging that we have four at home and two away, but we have to start winning now."

Newcastle have not collected a single point since they defeated Aston Villa at St James' on February 28, and that has left them in 13th place in the table, nine points clear of the drop zone, but not yet assured of their Premier League status.

Carver, if not the travelling fans who witnessed it, was pleased with his team's response to derby defeat in Monday night's 2-0 reverse at Liverpool, and with skipper Fabricio Coloccini back from suspension - Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse are both still banned - he will hope for more on Sunday.

He said: "It's a big test for everybody. We have gone through a rough patch and not won in five games. It's down to me to get them in the right frame of mind. We can't keep looking over our shoulders and relying on other teams.

"I saw a positive reaction at Anfield and for a long time, we showed we have good players and a good team. I will be looking for the same thing in the Spurs and Swansea games."

Carver's players may have to contend with a boycott by disgruntled fans, but more immediately, the threat of in-from Spurs striker Harry Kane.

The head coach said: "He's been outstanding. He deserved to get into the England team and it's great to see a young English player doing so well. But we have a more reasonable back four and hopefully they can stem his flow."

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is unsure whether a planned boycott by Newcastle fans will prove a help or hindrance to his side this weekend.

A number of supporters plan to boycott the televised game in protest against owner Mike Ashley, which is likely to lead to a peculiar atmosphere in the north east.

It will certainly make it an interesting test for Pochettino's side as they look to recover from some disappointing recent results of their own.

"You never know because sometimes the effect on the players and team maybe is positive," the Spurs boss said.

"Maybe sometimes the players are scared and run more than all season.

"Or maybe it is a very negative atmosphere and they feel under pressure and don't show their face.

"You never know in football how it can affect all the decisions around the team. For that it is difficult to guess what will happen on Sunday."

On paper, this looks a good opportunity for Spurs to make amends for the goalless draw at Burnley and home defeat to Aston Villa.

The fact Pochettino's predecessor Tim Sherwood oversaw the latter's victory made it all the more frustrating, yet the Spurs boss was in a surprisingly upbeat mood ahead of the trip to St James' Park.

"I think that football is football and I am a person who has spent all my life in football as player, manager and head coach," he said.

"I accept in football there are good and bad moments, but one thing important is to keep your balance and a good mood.

"We always want to win and we are ambitious, but always we need to have a very good mood. "

This weekend's match against Newcastle will also see Pochettino come up against a countryman who has made many a headline of late.

Former Argentina international Jonas Gutierrez's recovery following a battle with cancer and his return to top-flight football has inspired many.

"I am very happy for him," Pochettino said. "When he went in the game against Liverpool, he got a good ovation and it was good to see him playing football.

"This is real life. Sometimes we worry about a lot of things and results, but this is real life when you have the problems that he has. "

Press Association

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