Friday 6 December 2019

Alan Pardew avoids crisis talks as he survives for another game

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's job is under no immediate threat
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's job is under no immediate threat

Damian Spellman

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew's job is under no immediate threat despite a winless start to the Barclays Premier League season.

The 53-year-old found himself under intense pressure from fans once again after Monday night's 1-0 defeat at Swansea left the Magpies one place off the foot of the table with just three points from their opening six games.

However, it's understood that there will be no "crisis" talks with owner Mike Ashley this week and that Pardew will remain in charge for Saturday's trip to Swansea, and beyond whatever happens at the Liberty Stadium.

That does not amount to an unlimited vote of confidence from the club's billionaire owner, but an acknowledgement that not all the problems the team is experiencing on the pitch are down to the manager.

Pardew's squad underwent significant change during the summer, with nine new faces - Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles were immediately loaned back to Nottingham Forest - arriving at St James' Park.

As well as the fact that the proven striker and commanding central defender they wanted remained tantalisingly out of their grasp, the Magpies' concentration on the continental market once again saw them swoop for Daryl Janmaat, Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez, as well as Argentinian striker Facundo Ferreyra, leaving former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback as the only recruit with Premier League experience.

Pardew, whose influence in transfer dealings is limited, had previously spoken about the need to attract men who already had a grounding in English football, but later admitted that home-grown players had come at a particularly high premium this summer.

The fact that the likes of Janmaat, Cabella and Riviere in particular have struggled to get to grips with the Premier League - De Jong's loss to a long-term thigh injury has also proved costly - has not gone unnoticed in the Boardroom, and the blame for that is not being laid at the manager's feet.

In the circumstances, much of the pressure on the former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss is coming largely from disaffected fans, with many of those who made the trip to the Britannia Stadium making their feelings known both during the game and on the final whistle.

However, Ashley, who told a journalist - he later insisted in jest - last week that Pardew would be sacked if the team lost at Stoke, remains in his corner, if only just and will give him more time to turn things around.

But his patience has its bounds and there is little doubt that a significant improvement is needed, and fast, if that situation is to remain unchanged.

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