ALAN PARDEW wants to avoid an unwanted Newcastle United record tonight but has the support from the boardroom to bring brighter times back to St James’ Park.
Defeats to West Ham United, Swansea, Southampton and Stoke City have seen the Magpies drop alarmingly down the Premier League table in recent weeks – a run of reversals not suffered since the early stages of the 2008-09 relegation season.
But if Pardew fails to lead Newcastle to a first league win since October 28 against Wigan, then it will be the first time the Magpies have encountered five straight league defeats during the Premier League era.
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Having only signed an eight-year contract in September, however, he knows he has the time to turn things around and owner Mike Ashley is only concerned with helping Pardew to lead the revival.
Pardew said: “The word from the boardroom is concern.
We want to get going again and obviously to do well. They’ve given me massive support this week in trying to help me get the result I want, almost asking me ‘What can they do for me?’ “At the minute there’s not much they can do for me, if truth be known. Little things here and there we talked about could help, but they have been very forthcoming in that.”
Newcastle have almost been a victim of their own success. After last season’s surprise fifth-placed finish in the Premier League and qualification for the Europa League, expectations were inevitably raised this time around.
Injuries and suspensions have hit the squad, while a hectic fixtures schedule has meant Pardew has not had the ideal amount of time to spend on the training ground with his players.
And he reckons the fact that he has a long-term contract takes away much of the speculation that would ordinarily follow a manager around who has had a run of disappointing defeats in the Premier League.
“You have to earn the right to be able to cope with defeats,”
“The way the media is makes it very, very difficult to stomach four defeats, but from my point of view I have to look past that. Every manager worth his salt can’t focus on that, they must focus on the next game. I haven’t given a thought to Bordeaux on Thursday. I’ve not looked at one clip of them: it doesn’t interest me until we’ve gone past Wigan. That’s where we are.
“It’s a very important time for the players and the staff: we must keep our heads and do our jobs. I think when you’re on a losing run, you start doing other people’s jobs or interfering with someone else on the playing side too.” The Newcastle boss is trying to avoid becoming bogged down with the club’s recent dip in form, suggesting he is part of a club looking at the bigger picture.
“Unfortunately for us we’ve had a real turn of events in terms of injuries,”
said Pardew, who hinted Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa could be back for the trip to Fulham a week today.
“I can’t think of a Premier League team in the last couple of years that has suffered as badly as we have in terms of key players.
“People are asking me about the January transfer window. What am I going to do in the window? But you could argue we’re weak in every position through injury.
Gabriel Obertan and Hatem Ben Arfa in wide areas.
“We have to keep our eye on every position and make sure that in January we react to who we get back because one or two will come back, for sure.
“Hatem will be back, Obertan will be back, Shola will be back this weekend. I do expect that when we go to Fulham.”