Alan Pardew has admitted he has not even considered Newcastle United being relegated from the Premier League this season.
A 3-0 defeat at home to North-east rivals Sunderland last week was their fourth loss from the last six league games, leaving the club five points above third-bottom Wigan, who have a game in hand. They head to West Bromwich Albion today with the second worst away record in the division, but when Pardew was asked if he had thought about going down, he said: "No, I haven't considered it in terms of my planning for next year, I'm planning to be in the Premier League, but we need to get over the line, that's for sure. I'm not going away and being arrogant that we're going to be OK. We have the squad to get out of it.
"There was frustration in our camp after the Sunderland defeat which will stay in house and hopefully we do better this week. The reaction has been heavy handed. Do we need to get rid of the Sunderland frustration? Yes, that's important but we're not going to an easy place to do that, but nevertheless I do want to see a reaction and I expect to see one, from the whole club, not just the team.
"Our target for us now is to get 40 points as quickly as possible and if you get a win you can look at the top 10 as it is that tight. Right now, we need to secure some points."
Defender Russell Martin has issued a rallying call to the Norwich fans who might be getting a touch nervous ahead of their game against bottom side Reading today.
"What's not to relish?" said the full-back. "We are playing in the best league in the world against great players in great stadia week in and week out. What's there to be nervous about?"
Paolo Di Canio has revealed he is putting in over 100 hours a week along with his backroom staff to keep Sunderland up. The Italian's working day starts at 8.30am and finishes at midnight, every day. "Maybe people think I am crazy but this is my mission, this is my life," he said. Sunderland face Everton at the Stadium of Light today in Di Canio's first home game.
Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, is puzzled by criticism of Tony Pulis as he seeks to increase the pressure on Stoke's manager when their teams meet at Loftus Road today. Pulis has come under fire from his own fans following Stoke's slide. "The criticism he's had is unfair. He's done very well and has taken the club to another level," Redknapp said. "I'm sure Tony is finding out know who his friends are. People desert you at times like this."
Manager Paul Lambert hopes to have Gabriel Agbonlahor fit for Monday's trip to face Manchester United. The striker missed last week's draw against Fulham with a groin injury.
Defeat at Manchester City in midweek ended a five-match unbeaten run but manager Roberto Martinez (left) stressed: "We are prepared to go until the last ball is kicked on 19 May [when they host Aston Villa]."
Battle at bottom: Remaining games
NEWCASTLE WBA (a); 27 Apr Liverpool (h); 4 May West Ham (a); 12 May QPR (a); 19 May Arsenal (h)
NORWICH Reading (h); 27 Apr Stoke (a); 4 May Aston Villa (h); 12 May WBA (h); 19 May Man City (a)
SUNDERLAND Everton (h); 29 Apr Aston Villa (a); 6 May Stoke (h); 12 May So’ton (h); 19 May Spurs (a)
STOKE QPR (a); 27 Apr Norwich (h); 6 May Sunderland (a); 12 May Spurs (h); 19 May So’ton (a)
ASTON VILLA Mon Man Utd (a); 29 Apr Sund’land (h); 4 May Norwich (a); 11 May Chelsea (h); 19 May Wigan (a)
WIGAN West Ham (a); 27 Apr Spurs (h); 4 May West Brom (a); 7 May Swansea (h); 14 May Arsenal (a); 19 May Aston Villa (h)
QPR Stoke (h); 28 Apr Reading (a); 4 May Arsenal (h); 12 May Newcastle (h); 19 May Liverpool (a)
READING Norwich (a); 28 Apr QPR (h); 4 May Fulham (a); 14 May Man City (h); 19 May West Ham (a)
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