Alan Pardew was tonight clinging on to his job as Newcastle United manager after the club’s travelling fans at the Emirates turned on their manager en masse during their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, their sixth in a row.
There were chants and banners calling for Pardew to go throughout the game and at the end of the match, At various times, the fans blamed their manager, who returned to the touchline for the first time after a seven-match ban, leaving him in no doubt as to their feelings. Defeat at home to Cardiff City on Saturday could spell the end for Pardew, as his club fight to secure a top ten finish.
The Newcastle manager took a non-confrontational path after the game, choosing not to blame the fans for their reaction to the result and claiming that his side, who went down to goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, had acquitted themselves well.
Of the fans, Pardew said: “They're frustrated. We had 2,000 here tonight making this long, long trip. Although we're playing a good team, they expect us to win. They've seen us lose again and they're not happy, and I have to respect that. But all I can do in this job is do it to the best of my ability.
“We've been top 10 all year. We should have performed better in this run. We've got to finish in the top 10. If Cardiff think it's important [to win on Saturday], it's important for us to finish in the top 10, believe me."
Asked whether it was right to blame him, Pardew said: “I can't determine that. All I can do is get my team in the best possible place. We could have copped harm tonight at 2-0, but we came out with our dignity still there. We have to take that into Saturday. Our stadium have to give us the atmosphere on Saturday. We've got the best fans in the world, and they don't deserve the run we've given them.”
He said that the reaction of supporters, unhappy at the club’s worst league run since 1987, “puts pressure on the team and myself.” He said: “I have to do my best to protect the team and the performance. But if we win on Saturday it'll guarantee us top 10, I'm pretty sure of that, so our focus is to get that win as quickly as possible. We need a win for our confidence going to Liverpool, where we have a duty to perform.”
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