Embattled Alan Pardew believes his Newcastle United team has the “psychological strength” not to suffer another post-derby collapse.
With the club’s hierarchy again staying silent in the face of the blizzard of negative publicity which has followed their “non-negotiable” ban on ncjMedia’s titles, Pardew has been left to answer for both Mike Ashley’s latest damaging call and his own team’s failings - which were exposed with a sub-standard performance against Sunderland.
The Journal understands that Pardew is not under any immediate threat - indeed neither Ashley nor Director of Football Joe Kinnear chose to attend the match at the Stadium of Light - but there is no doubt he now faces a run of fixtures which will shape Newcastle’s season and define the mood in the North East.
Manchester City are the visitors tonight in the Capital One Cup fourth round and the Magpies, who will make a number of changes to their starting XI, need to muster a response.
Pardew does not think the defeat has had as profound an effect on the team this time around.
He said: “It is different manner of defeat and I also think that it is a different psychological outlook in the team.
“We have more experienced players who have been through it twice now. Last year’s experience. Players who have grown to know each other a bit more and you get to grow a better spirit in the group and that is what we have got and I think that will be reflected.”
Pardew admitted he was “angry” about the manner of the defeat.
He added: “There is a bit of anger in me we did not win that game because I felt we were in charge and two silly mistakes have cost us and that is what I was angry about.
“It was not the attitude of the players or their application but it is about concentration and professionalism when you are looking at the margins. Am I over that anger? Not really.
“I want to take it into Man City and hope my players do to but in the right manner because we need to find the right solution to win the game and we need to have that extra bit of aggression in our play in terms of moving the ball, passing it fast and passing it quicker than we did on Sunday and making sure the physical challenges are stronger than Man City’s.”
Pardew is likely to bring Sammy Ameobi into the starting XI, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will replace Paul Dummett in the centre of defence. Neither Steven Taylor nor Fabricio Coloccini is available.
He said: “I do not think I am taking a risk by resting players. When you see the team, you will see it is a strong team, a physical team.
“I think when you play City you need to have good energy on the pitch because they work you as a team.
“We had an emotional and physical game on Sunday and I think regardless of whether this was a Cup or Premier Leauge game, I would be
resting a couple for this game purely because of that.”
The Journal understands that Pardew has privately, as well as publicly, backed the ban on ncjMedia’s titles, and when asked to justify it he mentioned that the club wanted improved coverage of their Foundation events and of the Academy.
A search for ‘Newcastle United Foundation’ in this newspaper’s archives found 22 articles mentioning or focusing on the Foundation’s work in the last 21 days over our three titles, including extensive coverage of the outstanding Steve Harper 20-year charity match – which raised money for the charity.
Pardew’s public response was as follows: “We’ve drafted a letter we think is correct and that’s it. They have to respond to that.”
However, in the text of the letter sent to The Journal, the club stated that their position was “non-negotiable” and asked us not to respond to their final communication on the matter.
THE draw for the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup will take place immediately after tonight’s tie at St James’ Park and, like the game, will be shown live on Sky Sports.