John Carver has vowed to carry on as Newcastle United head coach despite losing eight consecutive games and admitting after a humiliating capitulation at Leicester City that he did not think the players were listening to him.
Newcastle are just two points above the relegation zone following their latest embarrassing defeat, but Carver will not quit even though his relationship with several players has reached breaking point.
The caretaker boss has had a series of angry clashes with first-team players in recent weeks and is seething about the lack of effort in games from certain troublesome individuals.
Mistakes made in their recruitment and the lack of investment in players left Newcastle with a weak squad, lacking competition for places and cover for injuries.
Carver was left to pick up the pieces of a fractured campaign, but he claimed in January that the squad was good enough to push for a top-eight finish.
Already viewed with suspicion as he was Alan Pardew's assistant, Carver has broken the record for the longest run of consecutive defeats by a Newcastle manager, even though he has been in charge for only 18 games.
Most people were willing to give him a chance, but abysmal results have been inflamed by perceptions that Carver is more worried about pleasing owner Mike Ashley than the supporters.
Many have called for him to resign if he loves the club as much as he says he does, because he is not up to the job, but Carver does not entertain such thoughts.
"I'm not going anywhere until someone comes to me and tells me otherwise," Carver said.
"I'm not a shirker, but I have to admit there's a chance they're just not listening to me."
A furious Carver even accused centre-back Mike Williamson of deliberately getting himself sent off against Leicester - a charge that could easily have been thrown at Daryl Janmaat, who was also dismissed needlessly late in the game.
Carver's anger is understandable, although the public criticism of Williamson was foolish given the lack of defenders available to him.
Williamson released a statement yesterday in which he denied he had deliberately got himself sent off.
He also apologised to the club's supporters and his team-mates, but not Carver.
"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Newcastle United supporters and my fellow team-mates for getting sent off," Williamson said.
"There was absolutely no intent to hurt Jamie (Vardy) or get sent off, but I recognise that I should have been more composed and measured in my determination to win the ball.
"Unfortunately, it did the one thing that I never wanted to do, and that was to hurt the team.
"Moving forward, I will do whatever I can to help my team-mates prepare for the next two games and fight to get back into the team when I'm next available."
Newcastle are contemplating removing Carver, but they have little room for manoeuvre in terms of finding an alternative.
Derby County manager Steve McClaren is thought to be Newcastle's preferred choice, but he does not want to be rushed into making a decision and is reluctant to take charge of a Newcastle team in a relegation battle.
Newcastle may still be tempted to seek McClaren's early departure from Derby, but the former England manager is due to meet his employers tomorrow and will not leave before those talks have taken place.
Speaking on Saturday after the disastrous 3-0 home defeat by Reading that cost Derby a play-off place, McClaren said: "Absolutely nothing has been agreed (with Newcastle). I'm under contract here unless they say otherwise."
Newcastle's latest capitulation came with staggering ineptitude, even by their recent standards.
They conceded possession from their own kick-off and within 37 seconds of the game starting were behind when Leonardo Ulloa scored from a corner.
Wes Morgan headed home Leicester's second on 17 minutes and Ulloa added the third from the penalty spot 13 minutes into the second half after Emmanuel Riviere barged over Marcin Wasilewski. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Newcastle United manager John Carver last night accused his own player of being deliberately sent off, questioned the commitment of several other members of his side which he described as a “soft touch”, agreed with supporters who called Newcastle gutless and spineless and, perhaps not surprisingly, admitted it would be hard for him to motivate the side for the remaining games this season.