Halt to losing streak unlikely to save Pardew from sack
Newcastle Utd 3 Cardiff City 0
The chants were loud, the atmosphere was poisonous and the message was clear. Regardless of the fact Newcastle United halted a run of six successive defeats with a victory that condemns Cardiff City to relegation, the vast majority of fans want manager Alan Pardew to be sacked.
This was the result Pardew needed to have a chance of clinging on to his job beyond the end of the season, but it did little to ease the pressure. He handled himself with dignity, both during and after the game, but that does not change the fact he has been pushed to the brink of the sack. The abuse directed at him was louder after Newcastle had scored their first goal than it was before it.
One win over a Cardiff side who have looked short of top-flight quality for months, did not change anything. Pardew will be lucky to survive given he came perilously close to losing his job 12 months ago, but Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is more confident about his future, despite winning only 12 points since replacing Malky Mackay in January.
"I will sit down with the owner sooner rather than later," said Solskjaer. "The sooner we get things agreed and plans in place the better in terms of our preparation for next season.
"Relegation has been lurking for weeks now, but it is still very disappointing now that it has happened. I'm still very happy at Cardiff and I love being a manager so I will come back stronger from this."
Pardew was keen to say as much to his Cardiff counterpart, although he was arguably in even greater need of comfort. "It's been a tough day, I make no bones about that," said Pardew "You have to be resilient. We have lost half the Premier League managers this season and we may lose another four or five in the summer yet. Sometimes it can seem like a thankless task, but all I can do is concentrate on next weekend's game against Liverpool and try to win that one.
"I always knew one win wouldn't change anything. The fans are very angry after our recent run and I just hope this is a small step to repair the damage. There is a long way to go and I apologise to them."
Having looked forward to watching the game on the touchline again following a seven-game ban Pardew was forced to remain seated and out of sight for the majority of the game as he was booed and jeered whenever he stepped into his technical area.
He was not even able to pass instructions directly to his players, leaving assistant manager John Carver to bark out orders as he tried to avoid antagonising long-suffering supporters who have reached the end of their tether. It is not just Pardew who has provoked them, owner Mike Ashley was also urged to take his rotund frame out of the club, but it is far easier for Newcastle to change their manager than their owner.
"I was just antagonising them so I took a step back and left it to John," said Pardew. "The fans made a really difficult atmosphere and I didn't want to make things worse." Pardew wants to fight on, but few managers have turned things around after suffering so badly at the hands of their own supporters. Ashley will decide his fate before the month's end.
Newcastle tried to make things less uncomfortable for the manager by taking the lead in the first half through Shola Ameobi's header, but Cardiff should have also scored when Fraizer Campbell wasted an excellent chance from a poor punch by Tim Krul. Cardiff should also have levelled in the second half, Kenwyne Jones shooting too close to Krul from six yards, before Aaron Gunnarsson failed to get a shot past Fabricio Coloccini on the line after a mistake from Krul.
What followed summed up Cardiff's season. They tried to find a way back into the game, but were picked off as they lost their shape in defence. Loic Remy scored a second for Newcastle with three minutes remaining and then had a hand in a third in stoppage time, as Steven Taylor bundled his header over the line.
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