Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 April 2018

Newcastle go dark in survival bid

John Carver is hoping one last push can help Newcastle secure their Premier League status
John Carver is hoping one last push can help Newcastle secure their Premier League status

John Carver will impose a media blackout on his Newcastle players in one final bid to complete their Premier League relegation escape.

Saturday's 2-1 loss at already-relegated QPR means Newcastle will go into their final-day match against West Ham at St James' Park still at risk of the drop, only two points clear of 18th-placed Hull.

Manager Carver will tell his players to put their focus on their match and ignore all media coverage of their relegation fight.

"I'll tell the players to keep away from the TV and going online, to keep them focused on preparation," said Carver.

"If you take your eye off the ball you get punished, and we've got to keep our focus sharp.

"It's still in our hands, and if you want it enough then you can do something about it.

"We've got a week to get our heads around this situation."

Carver admitted the weight of expectation could have contributed to Saturday's defeat as Newcastle threw away a lead and missed the chance to secure their place in the top flight.

Emmanuel Riviere claimed his first Premier League goal in 22 appearances to hand Newcastle the perfect start in west London.

Carver's men controlled the contest until the break, only to slip markedly off the pace as QPR wrestled victory through goals from Matt Phillips and Leroy Fer.

Defeat extended Newcastle's winless streak to 10 matches, but Carver's side still sit in the box-seat to avoid the drop next weekend.

Hull's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham leaves Steve Bruce's men in bigger trouble, especially as they host Manchester United in their final tie.

Carver believes he has emptied his box of tricks in his bid to break Newcastle's malaise, but will focus on keeping his players calm in the coming week.

"I've tried everything in the book I think," said Carver.

"Sometimes the quality's not there, you're just not good enough, and Saturday might have been that situation.

"Pressure's a funny thing, but now we have to control it."

Press Association

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