Alan Pardew is ready to ring the changes to get Newcastle United flying high again – after admitting the Magpies were left spooked by a “very hairy” flight back from Swansea.
A miserable night in South Wales saw United thumped 3-0 by Michael Laudrup’s resurgent Swans before enduring a nightmare plane journey back from South Wales as high winds buffeted their aircraft.
Pardew joked that assistant boss John Carver was left “wobbling” by the turbulence but their performance and the need for improvement was no laughing matter for the Newcastle boss, who is considering bringing Hatem Ben Arfa, Massadio Haidara and Vurnon Anita back in from the cold at Old Trafford.
“We’ve had some hairy journeys in the past, a couple of fly-bys in the plane as you do in the modern game,” he said.
“All the clubs fly to most away games because you want to get the players back into their beds as soon as possible to get that rest, particularly when you’ve got a game on Saturday morning.
“It was a little bit hairy last night and there was a bit of applause at the back of the plan when we landed.
“I didn’t hear any screaming from the players!
“John Carver had a little bit of a wobble, he wasn’t so brave last night. He looked a bit white when we got off.
“I remember at West Ham, Paolo Di Canio wouldn’t fly, I don’t know how he got on last year as a manager but he wouldn’t fly when he was at West Ham at certain times. Yossi Benayoun, he didn’t like flights, but some people don’t. We can always lay on the bus.
“Ours didn’t get back until 9am this morning so I don’t think there would be many who would volunteer for that.”
Pardew is now contemplating changing the team after retaining the same line-up for successive games – although his biggest concern will be coming up with a plan that is less reticent than the system they tried out at Swansea.
“Hopefully it’s a one-off slip up but as you know it’s very difficult to win Premier League games,” he said.
“In every game the opposition give you a different set of problems. Man U will be different to Swansea, it might be that we need to tweak the team a little bit and give one or two a chance, but it might not be this occasion so that’s the kind of call we debate as a staff.”
It is an encouragement for Pardew that Wayne Rooney will miss out but he does not buy the idea that Manchester United are in crisis.
While acknowledging that he wants to add to the pressure on boss David Moyes, he is more concerned with United ending their Old Trafford hoodoo.
“I think there will be a reaction from Manchester United from their defeat as there will be from us, it will be a pressurised game so it will be a time for calm heads. They had been on a run of 12 games unbeaten so it is not like there is a crisis there.
“But there will be pressure but we have to capitalise on that and make it difficult for them and try and reverse the Newcastle stat of not winning at Manchester United which is not very good.
“I watched three quarters of the Manchester United-Everton game and they made it very difficult for United and played very well.”
Red Devils veteran Ryan Giggs has demanded an instant response against the Magpies following their midweek defeat, saying: “We have to pick ourselves up. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves for too long. We have a home game against Newcastle on Saturday and hopefully we will get a different result.
“We were on a pretty good run. We just have to get over this disappointment now and get on another.
“Hopefully we can start picking up points again. We have had a few disappointing results over the last couple of weeks.
“The performances haven’t been that bad. Maybe we are just not getting the rub of the green or taking our chances when we should.”