NEWCASTLE UNITED manager Alan Pardew has taken a tough approach with his players in a bid to pull them out of a miserable run of form, warning them that anyone unable to cope with the pressure currently on their shoulders will lose their place in his side.
Pardew read the riot act to his players following the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham at St James’ Park ten days ago, a result which condemned the Magpies to a fourth consecutive home defeat for the first time since the Premier League began.
The Magpies weren’t in action last weekend due to their early exit out of the FA Cup, but Pardew altered original plans for the squad to have extended time off in a bid to demonstrate his anger at their recent performances.
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Newcastle’s next opportunity to end their hideous run of one win in eight comes when Aston Villa visit St James’ Park tomorrow lunchtime, and Pardew revealed his players have seen a different side to him over the past ten days.
“When I see certain performances, I can forgive and I always leave my door open for a player to come back,” Pardew said.
“I never really shut a door on any player I can think of. Maybe one or two. But if it gets to a stage where I feel it has crossed the line, then I will not be using that particular player as often as I previously would.
“You have to change and your relationship does change with players because you give them faith and then you take it away by leaving them out of the team and you have to give credibility to that.
“It is important that your relationship changes with players. It has to. You cannot be the same all though their periods of form, down sides, up sides. You have to sometimes change to get a reaction.
“That will be reflected in the team I pick for the next game. Forget about any individual, the most important thing is the club and that performance did not represent the club quite frankly. If I was shaking my head that is why. If I was a fan, I would be the same.”
Pardew will make changes to the side well-beaten by Spurs with Paul Dummett and Sammy Ameobi expected to start, while Loic Remy will return in attack. There could be more changes depending on the fitness of Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote, but whoever walks out at St James’ Park the Magpies boss insists there must be a reaction in front of their home fans, who have not witnessed a win since Boxing Day.
He said: “It does not matter what goes on out there (training ground) because the fans have not seen that. It is what turns up on Sunday that is important and we need to make sure that it reflects what we have done in training. Otherwise it will be empty words.
“Sometimes more experienced players cope better but sometimes it is young ones who can too. They can be a little bit immune to it and so the selection of the team (in this respect) does not really bother me.
“I don't really look at whether I need to put a senior team out. I actually look for players who I think are in a good place. I think we have some players who are in decent places to be honest.”
Pardew woke up to reports on Monday that he had one game to save his job. In response, the club released a statement to deny the story, but the Magpies boss admits it would be foolish of him not to worry about his position.
“In this city, it is difficult when you are not winning home games,” said Pardew, who revealed he has not spoken to owner Mike Ashley since the Spurs defeat. “I don't care whether you are top or bottom of the league, in the Championship or even when you are fifth, you cannot lose at home here.
“It means everything to our fans and we need to understand that and play under that pressure. We need to make sure we put in a performance where we nudge our fans the right way on Sunday.
“I think you would be foolish not to (worry about his position). You worry about the next game, you worry about what lies ahead but my focus is on the next 12 games and really and truly, if we get a point a game, we will finish in the top ten and that is my minimum focus for this team.
“I am hurt by the Tottenham performance. That's personal pride because that was not the sort of team I put out for the performance or what was warranted after the preparation we put in.
“All that puts pressure on myself or I put my own pressure on. The media in the Premier League is such that it comes round very quickly and jumps from ship to ship and it has jumped onto us even though we have 37 points.”
“All I can do is focus on what is important and that is the next game right now. Aston Villa is the most important thing and that is what I focus on and that when that game is over, the most important focus will not be on me or Mike, but on Hull. We need to win.”