Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle
United manger, has said some of his side will be playing for their
futures as he tries to halt a run of three consecutive Premier
Newcastle host Aston
Villa on Sunday and Pardew is desperate for his team to snap out of
a run in which they have won just one of their past nine games.
Pardew is already planning a summer recruitment drive after losing key
midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris St Germain last month, and with question
marks hanging over several members of his current squad and others out of
contract, there will be a significant number of departures.
The next three months could prove crucial for those men yet to nail down a
first-team place, as well as those who have set their hearts on a trip to
the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Asked if some were playing for their futures — there has been speculation over
Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and loan signing Luuk de
Jong, among others — Pardew said: “Yes, I think some are.
“Others not so, but I am still looking for a level of performance and
consistency that will maybe get them into a World Cup squad and make sure
they are a regular next season at this football club.”
For all that Newcastle enjoyed an encouraging first half of the campaign,
Pardew’s first target of 40 points has yet to be reached — they have been
marooned on 37 points since Jan 28 — and that is an issue he intends to
resolve at the earliest possible opportunity after last season’s scramble
He said: “I would like to really get that out of the way on Sunday and
hopefully we can. I wouldn’t say we are very comfortable, but we are
Pardew and his players were far from comfortable by the end of their last 90
minutes at St James’, when they left the pitch to a chorus of boos from what
remained of the crowd after a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Tottenham
The manager and owner Mike Ashley have come in for concerted criticism for
differing reasons since, and Pardew has left his players in little doubt as
to what he expects from now on.
He said: “I can accept defeat, I have no problem with that, but there are ways
and means to get a defeat.
“That wasn’t the way or the means to get a defeat at this football club and I
won’t accept it.
“I just thought it was important to remind players of the responsibility they
have, no matter how comfortable we are in the league, that there’s a certain
standard at this football club that we expect, and we didn’t reach that by
any stretch of the imagination.
“I made it clear that I won’t stand for it. That will be reflected in the
selection of the team.”
That process will be made significantly easier by the return from injury of
both central defender Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheick Tioté, while
the completion of striker Loïc Remy has completed his three-game ban.
Pardew said: “If you compare that to, say, Liverpool, it’s like having Suarez
and Gerrard back, that’s how important they are to us.”