Sport Soccer

Friday 20 April 2018

Carver enjoying Newcastle challenge

John Carver has insisted he is enjoying his stint as Newcastle's head coach
John Carver has insisted he is enjoying his stint as Newcastle's head coach

John Carver has insisted he is enjoying the task of trying to turn Newcastle's season around despite all appearances.

The 50-year-old has suffered a torrid time since replacing Alan Pardew as head coach at St James' Park until at least the end of the season.

Pardew's former assistant has managed just two wins in 14 games in all competitions to date and has seen his side lose their last five Barclays Premier League fixtures, a run which has allowed the chasing pack to close and threaten to drag the club into a shock relegation fight.

That, coupled with fury over owner Mike Ashley's recruitment policy, has sparked calls for a mass boycott of Sunday's home clash with Tottenham, but Carver remains upbeat.

He said with a smile: "I'm enjoying it - you might think it's strange to say that.

"The hardest thing is to pick yourself up after a defeat because you take it personally. But we are professionals and have to get on with it. I'm quite a positive guy inside my head and I know I can do the job. I just need the tools.

"We've had setbacks, but you have got to deal with setbacks. It would be interesting to see if any manger or head coach had had this sort of situation in their career. It has been difficult, the facts are there.

"But I'm not a moaner and not making excuses. It's a test of management how you deal with it. I think I'm getting the best out of the group of players we have."

Carver's final comment may cause more than a few raised eyebrows with Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal, Sunderland and Liverpool each having emerged from their recent meetings with Newcastle having banked three points.

Injuries and ill-discipline - Papiss Cisse and Moussa Sissoko are currently serving bans while skipper Fabricio Coloccini is available at the weekend after having to sit out the last three games - have severely depleted a team which has been marooned on 35 points since the victory over Aston Villa on February 28.

Carver said: "You can't afford to ease off in the Premier League. This is a difficult league and it's difficult to win matches. You can win five in a row, lose five in a row - and we have to stop that."

Press Association

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