ALAN Pardew has shouldered responsibility for the “tactical and psychological” mistakes that “let down” Newcastle United in their DW Stadium debacle at Wigan.
Pledging to restore pride to United supporters in tomorrow’s crucial trip to Chelsea, he has also revealed that he may need to “bring down” a squad that has been talked up as potential Champions League contenders this season. The fall-out from Saturday’s comprehensive loss against a team fighting relegation appears to have been fierce. Pardew has made a habit of talking up his side this season but after a day analysing the data from the Wigan loss, he hinted at potential changes in personnel and system to address the mistakes that were made in Lancashire.
Danny Simpson looks set to miss out with an ankle injury while Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan have been included in the travelling part with a view to reverting to 4-4-2.
Whatever the team sent out, it appears the players have been emphatically reminded of their responsibilities after collectively dipped below the levels they have set for themselves this season.
United certainly can’t afford a collective slip up at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea have not lost a game this calendar year. The fired up Blues are on a high after qualifying for the Champions League final last week and routed QPR 6-1 on Sunday.
After sifting through the wreckage of that defeat, he has pin-pointed the reasons for their loss and pledged to put in a performance to make the supporters proud in London.
“It was a bad day at the office, but for reasons,” he said. “I think part of the psychology was that, with all due respect to Wigan, it was them we were playing and not Chelsea that was three days around the corner.
“I’m not attributing any kind of blame here, I’m just saying that collectively we all got it wrong. The psychology of the team and the tactical side of things is my responsibility, and I felt that I let the club down a little bit as well. On Wednesday, I have to make sure I don’t get that wrong.
“The only thing I worry about in terms of Wednesday night is making sure that my team is motivated at the right level. That will probably mean bringing them down rather than building them up, like I was trying to do on Saturday.
“I don’t think we’re under any illusions. Tactically, we made mistakes as a coaching team and myself.
“I think the psychology didn’t work for us and, with no disrespect to Wigan, the performance they put in was probably above themselves.
“All those factors resulted in that result, and we all take responsibility for it. Therefore, we all need to make the same response on Wednesday night.” United have tended to bounce back after poor results and while Pardew knows it will be tough at Stamford Bridge, he is certain that there will be no repeat of the poor display.
He said: “I think the most important part for our fans in particular is a restoring in pride, and we have to do that via the performance on Wednesday night.
“If I was a fan that’s what I would be looking for and the result will come second. If you get the performance right, sometimes the result follows pretty quickly.”
Of course, some perspective is required. Already in Europe and still very much alive in the Champions League chase, Pardew’s apology comes with the caveat that the team have rarely let anyone down this year.
“If we’ve had a bad 45 minutes then we apologise to our fans and our critics for that but the bottom line is that we’ve still got three games and it all to play for,” he said. “We’re absolutely delighted really and we’ll got to Chelsea and give it our best shot.