Pardew determined to improve Newcastle after Rodgers backing

NEWCASTLE BOSS: Alan Pardew

NEWCASTLE BOSS: Alan Pardew

First published in Sport
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

ALAN PARDEW last night vowed to make Newcastle United stronger over the summer after being described by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as “perfect” to stay in charge at St James' Park.

Liverpool came from behind to defeat the Magpies 2-1 at Anfield yesterday on an afternoon when Manchester City overcame West Ham United to beat the Reds to the Premier League title.

While there was pride from what has been achieved by Rodgers for finishing second among the Liverpool fans this season, there was further calls for a change at the top from the travelling Newcastle support.

Pardew, whose side started strongly and claimed the lead courtesy of a Martin Skrtel own goal in the 20th minute, will now sit down with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley to plot a way forward.

Having delivered a tenth placed finish, six places higher than last season, and worth a £13.2m bonus in prize money, Pardew is expected to be given the financial backing during the close season to improve a squad set to lose more players just months after selling Yohan Cabaye.

Pardew, whose side were in touch with the top four going in to the New Year, said: “I just think we're a club that in the first half of the season were very, very competitive and had form for Europe to a degree. The second half we weren't good enough and the reasons are shared by us all, including myself. I wasn't good enough.

“I understand that I need to come back better and stronger and I will do. This club needs to recruit well in this period. We have bought some good young players but we need, offensively, some quality to come in and hopefully we can secure those and give our fans something to really hang on to for the pre-season. We need to show them we're back to where we were in the first half of this season.”

Despite calls for both the manager and Ashley to go, Liverpool manager Rodgers sympathises with his Newcastle counterpart.

Rodgers said: “I've got to be honest I can't believe the stick that Alan Pardew has got. He's finished top ten. I understand the sheer scale of the club, Newcastle is an incredible football club with the size of it. They went close to Champions League football and they're a club that can be up there but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out (what has happened there).

“I saw banners saying 'Pardew out' around the ground. The team hasn't bought a player in 18 months, they've sold their best player in Yohan Cabaye. He's not a magician.

“When he had the players there they just missed out on Champions League so it's not Alan Pardew's fault. It's not him. He's a wonderful coach. He's perfect for Newcastle. I think he's shown that. If you're a manager and you've got the club (nearly) to the Champions League and you don't sign a player permanently then don't blame the manager. Don't blame the manager.”

For an hour Newcastle looked liked they would frustrate Lliverpool on the final day after gaining the lead and coping with the advances of the home side's forward line.

Pardew said: “I thought our season, in terms of performance at the end there, was strong. We had a good game plan, we perhaps were slightly unfortunate not to get the second goal when Yoan Gouffran was one on one.

“The referee played a part in the second half in my view. I think he should have managed the game a lot better than he did and we conceded two goals. He had a part in the first one, I didn't think it was a foul by Vurnon Anita (on Raheem Sterling) and the second one we certainly should have had a foul for Daniel Agger on Shola Ameobi.

“But Liverpool have had a fantastic season and they have great quality and if you give too many set plays away to Steven Gerrard he's going to hurt you. They were two fabulous free-kicks that we perhaps didn't do as well as we should have done.”

Newcastle's performance was further soured by the red cards picked up by both Shola Ameobi and Paul Dummett. Ameobi was double cautioned for protesting after Daniel Sturridge's winner, just two minutes after Daniel Agger's equaliser. Dummett, on the other hand, was dismissed for an awful challenge on Luis Suarez.

“I know Shola. He doesn't swear. I saw the referee and said 'I know Shola doesn't swear so how angry could he possibly get?' I don't actually know how angry you can get if you don't swear,” said Pardew.

“I think what happened was 'If you carry on I'm going to send you off' and maybe sarcastically Shola said 'Are you going to send me off?' And he did. That's the explanation referee Phil Dowd gave me.

“Brendan said to me straight away about Dummett's 'that's just a booking'. I agree with that. He's just come on, the adrenaline is flowing. His right leg which is not the natural leg comes through and makes it look worse than it was. It wasn't a sending off and again I think he should have managed that better."

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