Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Carver puts future on back burner

Newcastle head coach John Carver is focused on this season
Newcastle head coach John Carver is focused on this season

John Carver has put all talk of his future on hold as he attempts to secure Newcastle's Barclays Premier League status.

The 50-year-old, who was appointed as head coach until the end of the season following Alan Pardew's departure for Crystal Palace, had presided over an eight-game losing run before last Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Brom.

Such a sequence of results can hardly have helped his cause, with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley still considering their options.

Despite the difficulties he has encountered - and injuries and suspensions have been significant mitigating factors - Carver still believes he is in with a chance of landing the job on a permanent basis.

However, as he prepared his team for a potentially decisive trip to relegated QPR on Saturday, Pardew's former assistant insisted his situation can wait to be resolved.

Carver said: "If we win on Saturday and all the results go our way, I still want to go and win the West Ham game. Then we'll talk about it.

"I want to win at everything I do. This goes back to what I said last week about me believing, in my head, I am the best. I want to win everything. I'm so competitive.

"My pride has been hurt by the run of results. I want to do something about it. If that means winning the next two games, that will make me feel a little bit better."

Newcastle decided not to make a permanent appointment in January after discovering their main targets were not available, and an approach to Steve McClaren following the end of Derby's promotion hopes proved equally fruitless.

But they will look to move swiftly once they know where their future lies with a big summer rebuilding programme on the cards, although Carver, who held lengthy talks with Charnley in the wake of an humiliating 3-0 defeat at Leicester, is adamant the job has not even been discussed.

He does not expect it to be until after the final-day fixture against the Hammers, saying: "There has been nothing discussed. We have just focused on these two games.

"I am going away on holiday on the Wednesday after the West Ham game, so I would like to know where I am by then.

"But I want no discussions from now until the West Ham game is finished. I don't think it's right. I think it's important we have to keep all our focus on these games."

Carver has found himself the target of fans' anger in recent months, having replaced Pardew as the club's visible face while attempting to steer an already-thin squad in terms of both ability and experience through waters made all the more choppy by fitness and disciplinary problems.

The return of full-back Daryl Janmaat from suspension and winger Rolando Aarons from injury at Loftus Road to join striker Papiss Cisse, who made his first appearance since March 4 against West Brom last weekend following a seven-game ban and a knee problem, represents a boost, and one which could hardly have come at a better time.

But he admits he still does not know how anyone could have coped better with the challenge he has faced in recent weeks.

Carver said: "Because of the circumstances, I would love to see how anyone else would react. That is bad luck. It is not mismanagement by the club.

"I had enough players. At one stage, I had a full team missing. Our squad of 26 is not a bad size - but not many people have 11 players missing at one time. But I don't want any sympathy."

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