After a vote of confidence of sorts, with the club this week dismissing claims defeat against Aston Villa would spell the end of his turbulent three-year reign, Pardew insists his sole concern is to halt a damaging run of seven defeats in the last nine games that has all but ended hopes of challenging for Europe.
Rumblings of discontent from the stands have accompanied the growing feeling among supporters that, with 12 games still to go, the season is already over, the hierarchy’s stated aim of a top-10 finish well within reach even with the most modest of points return in the final third of the campaign.
After revealing a new get-tough policy with his under-performing squad in the wake of the 4-0 humiliation by Tottenham last time out, Pardew admits it would be remiss of him not to worry about his future. This after presiding over Newcastle’s worst home run for more than a quarter of a century as they bid to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat against Paul Lambert’s side on Sunday.
Insisting there was nothing out of the ordinary in not having spoken to the club’s multi-millionaire owner Mike Ashley in the nine days since the Spurs debacle, he admitted: “I don’t hide from the fact that when you lose five home games in a row at Newcastle, then you’re under pressure.”
Asked if he was worried about his future, he added: “You’d be foolish not to be. You worry about the next game, you worry about what lies ahead.”
Despite their horrendous run of results, one made worse by failing to bring in a replacement for Yohan Cabaye following the France midfielder’s £20million move to Paris St Germain, Pardew will have met his season’s goal by guiding the side to finish in the top half.
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You’d be foolish not to be. You worry about the next game, you worry about what lies ahead
The manager has ruffled a few feathers in the dressing room in the wake of the Spurs surrender, cancelling days off and calling extra training sessions in a bid to banish the memory of a display he described as the worst he’s ever seen by one of his sides.
Promising to ring the changes against a Villa side with a far from impressive recent record on Tyneside, he added: “Are they seeing a harder, less tolerant version of me? Sometimes, yes.
“I never really shut the door on any player, but if it gets to a stage where I feel it’s crossed the line, then I’ll not be using that particular player as often as I previously would.
“Relationships with players can always change. As a manager, they need to. You give them faith and then you take it away by leaving them out of the team.
“It’s important that your relationship changes with players. It has to. You can’t be the same all though their periods of form, down sides, up sides. You have to sometimes change to get a reaction.”
Pardew hopes to see the return of at least one of the injured duo of skipper Fabricio Coloccini and influential midfielder Cheick Tiote against Villa. Newcastle also welcome back striker Loic Remy following a three-game suspension.
The Newcastle manager insists his 11-goal top scorer has had a huge weight lifted from his shoulders after rape allegations against the France forward were dropped.
He added: “We have some players who are in decent places right now to be honest, particularly Loic, who has had the pressure of the court case removed from him.
“He’s done remarkably well in the first part of the season to have that hanging in the background on him and his family. To have that removed, I see a real lease of life in him.”
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