Newcastle United's interim manager John Carver yesterday made the astonishing claim that he is the best coach in the Premier League, despite overseeing the worst run in the club's history - eight straight defeats.
Carver instead blamed the lack of quality in the squad he took over from Alan Pardew in January for plunging Newcastle into third Premier League relegation battle under owner Mike Ashley.
Carver spoke of the "blunt" tools he has been left to work with after Newcastle inexplicably failed to buy a centre-forward of note or a centre-half last summer, a problem exacerbated by the seven-game ban given to their only recognised goalscorer, Papiss Cissé, for spitting in Jonny Evans' face.
"I still think I'm the best coach in the Premier league," said Carver. "I have a spring in my step. I never offered to resign or was asked to resign. I have the backing of Mike Ashley and (chief executive) Lee Charnley.
"It's not just something that's happened from last week. It's been coming. I'm not a magician, I've said it all along. I've been amongst it, and I can see what's going on. It's been a tough situation but it's in our hands. The criticism the players have had and we have all had, a lot of it is deserved, some of it is not. We collectively take responsibility. What I will say is that they realise they have to react to it."
As for the lack of adequate cover and Cissé's absence, he said: "If I took a notepad away from a journalist or a pen away, it is difficult to write notes because you have to do it from memory. Take your best centre-forward out of the team, who scores all your goals, you ain't got another to replace him." (© Independent News Service)