NEWCASTLE United's board remain absolutely convinced that Alan Pardew is the man to take the club forward despite a disastrous weekend that dragged the club deeper into the relegation fight.
The United boss endured chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ after a double substitution that enraged certain sections of St James’ Park, and then attracted criticism for commenting on the “negativity” of the 49,411 crowd. The loss was United’s eighth in ten games and leaves them just two points clear of the drop zone.
The manager himself admitted he was under pressure and said his players were “getting their heads” round the relegation battle to come. The Journal understands from senior club sources, however, that Pardew’s position is not up for discussion.
The manager is “safe” and will be backed in the transfer market, with France international defender Mapou Yanga-M'Biwa set to sign tomorrow after an £8m fee was agreed with Montpellier. He is due in Newcastle today, a crucial 24 hours with skipper Fabricio Coloccini due to hammer out a resolution to his future with United.
The player still wants to leave but Newcastle are trying to convince him to stay, and will not countenance any form of bargain deal to allow him to join San Lorenzo, who have angered United with their public utterances about the player.
Pardew (pictured below) will enter the meeting without any immediate threat hanging over him. He said on Saturday night he had no fears for his job and it hasn’t even arrived at the stage where assurances have been sought.
While Pardew is not insulated from criticism – forthright opinion has always been expressed in the Newcastle boardroom win, lose or draw – he will be given time to reverse the run.
He will spend the next ten days on the training ground trying to hammer out a solution to the problems that manifested themselves in the numbing 2-1 reverse to Reading.
United hope to add two more new faces before the trip to Aston Villa, which has now assumed huge importance.
“If we had seven games left, I would be worried, but we’ve got a lot of games left and I think we’re getting our heads around it,” Pardew said.
“We spoke after the game about how the stadium can turn on one moment, which it did really. We have to be able to cope with that. I think our stadium is a little bit more intimidating than (some of our relegation rivals’) and you have to accept you’re going to get setbacks in games, even when you’re winning.
“It will be important to get as good a points total as possible before then, but I think we’ll be more hardened to the situation by then.”
Pardew knows that the situation has put him under “pressure”, though.
He said: “I’m feeling disappointed, for sure. You don’t want the stadium booing your substitutions as the manager. But that’s what I have to accept. I will accept it and I’ll be fine when I go back to work – probably in about an hour’s time.
“I have a good staff and good players, but they need a boost, there’s no doubt about that. A win would have been different for them, but we’ve lost to a team who are below us and that has put us under pressure and put me under pressure.
“I will have to do what I do and I’ll have to do it well – I have to be strong and make sure my players are strong.”
Pardew called the arrival of new players the chance to inject fresh “impetus”. A deal is understood to have been done with Montpellier for Yanga-Mbiwa (pictured below) but there will be caution because of the fate of the Loïc Rémy deal seven days ago.
In a potential twist, The Journal was told by his German-based representative Tim Hager that “the player is staying” at Montpellier yesterday afternoon.
Hager said: “We know a lot of things are being written about the player by English journalists but the club have not spoken to me.”
The club remain confident a deal will be done, however, and expect to announce a deal tomorrow.