Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has not spoken to Joe Kinnear since the director of football's resignation on Monday.
With under-21 coach Willie Donachie resigning last night after being suspended yesterday and Pardew delivering a gloomier-than-expected injury bulletin ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League trip to Chelsea, the problems continue to mount at St James’ Park.
And Pardew's admission that he has had no contact with Kinnear gave an insight into the strained relations at the top of the club.
“I was surprised the decision was made at that time but it was not my decision,” Pardew said of Monday night’s news.
“No, I have not spoken to him (Kinnear) since but I am sure I will do.” Pardew reported to Kinnear, who had the final say on transfers.
Without him, and with no immediate plans for a replacement, Pardew’s position appears stronger, but last week’s 3-0 defeat at Sunderland may have left him weaker.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Pardew said. “It is probably for other people to suggest.
“The only thing I have ever done since I have been at this football club, whoever has been (on) the board or whatever the results have been, is try and do the best I can with the team.
“I always think I put a team out to win the game.
“I have always done that. And I will do that at Chelsea and if we pay the price and get beaten 2-0 or 3-0, because we are pushing towards the end, like Sunderland, I don’t care. I want to get something out of the game. And if it exposes us to a heavier defeat, I will take that rather than get beaten by one goal and accept it.”
No official reasons have been given for coach Donachie’s exit, but it comes amid allegations he hit one of his players, believed to be Remi Streete, in a dressing room row at the Stadium of Light after Monday’s 2-0 under-21 defeat to Sunderland.
It had been hoped captain Fabricio Coloccini and Yoan Gouffran – who has more Premier League goals this season (six) than the derby starting XI combined – would return from injury at Stamford Bridge, but neither they nor Papiss Cisse are expected to play.
Coloccini’s return date after a knee injury picked up on New Year’s Day has been put back until February 23.
“Coloccini will hopefully return in the next few weeks, maybe against Aston Villa,” said Pardew. “Papiss has a little bit of a problem and he’s still not ready.” Gouffran could return at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
“By the time we get to Villa, I think I will have my best team available or close to it and we can start looking forward to maybe a different look to us,” Pardew commented.
“We cannot be the team we were in the first half of the season. We have got no one in the team who can play like (Yohan) Cabaye so we do have to change our style a little bit and find a way that can work for us.”