Sunday 15 December 2019

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew: 'The pressure is but I'm ready to fight for my job'

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

Damian Spellman

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is remaining defiant as he attempts to head off a fresh crisis.

The 53-year-old survived in his job last season despite a touchline bust-up with Hull midfielder David Meyler and a dreadful end to the campaign during which he was booed by his own club's fans.

But the knives are out for the Londoner once again after a transfer window which saw plenty of incoming activity, but Mathieu Debuchy follow France colleague Yohan Cabaye through the exit and fans' favourite Hatem Ben Arfa sent out on loan along with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa following the breakdown of his relationship with the manager.

In addition, the Magpies' failure to sign another striker as the window drew to a close further angered Pardew's critics and no doubt contributed to a poll of more than 5,000 supporters carried out by the city's evening newspaper, the Evening Chronicle, which gave him an 85 per cent disapproval rating.

However, Pardew said: "I'm afraid it's part and parcel of the Premier League.

"We have not won a game yet, so the teams that haven't won a game, the pressure is on those particular managers - more so on me because of the back end of last year, when we weren't good enough.

"But I think we're good enough this year and I think our results will reflect that."

Ben Arfa provided a focal point for Pardew's detractors as it became obvious he had no further role to play on Tyneside, although the Frenchman's chronic inconsistency appears to have been conveniently forgotten by many.

The former Marseille midfielder, who has nevertheless produced some stunning cameos for the club, thanked fans for their support in an open letter following his loan move to Hull, although Pardew's reaction was telling.

He said: "That's a decision he made with his PR company. As far as we are concerned, what's important with the players here is that they represent the jersey with honesty and truth and love.

"That's all we concentrate on, the players we have here."

If Pardew is in the firing line once again - sources have denied claims he has two games to save his job - so too is owner Mike Ashley, although at a time when speculation is mounting that he is ready to sell Newcastle in order to buy Rangers, in which he already holds a nine per cent stake.

Newcastle have effectively been available for much of the sportswear magnate's tenure at St James' Park, which now amounts to more than seven years, but no-one is yet to put the cash on the table to secure a deal club, and that remains the case.

Asked about the rumours, Pardew said: "That's news to me. I've heard no suggestion from him or any signs from him.

"He's obviously given us money to spend this summer, which we have hopefully spent well, but only time will tell on that. They [the new players] are are settling in well and that's the most important thing.

"His commitment to the club is as strong as it's always been."

Pardew will head for former club Southampton on Saturday looking for a first league win of the campaign at the fourth attempt, but will do so without key midfielder Siem de Jong, who will be sidelined for three months by a groin injury which may require surgery.

Meanwhile, teenage midfielder Rolando Aarons and loan signing Facundo Ferreyra will miss out with hamstring and back problems respectively.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote will return to the squad, but is unlikely to start having played the full 90 minutes in both of the Ivory Coast's matches during the international break, much to his manager's annoyance.

PA Media

The Left Wing: John Cooney on Ulster's European run and bouncing back from World Cup disappointment

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport