With Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking yesterday illustrating the perils of his profession, Alan Pardew reminds Neil Cameron why he was never in any doubt this would be a tough season.
ALAN Pardew began his Press conference yesterday morning by joking that the big story of the day was elsewhere and that we gentlemen of the Fourth Estate were “all in the wrong place.”
The Newcastle United manager would just have been taking off his jacket in his office at the club’s training ground when news filtered through that Roberto Di Matteo had been sacked.
That’s the same man who won the FA Cup in May and then added the Champions League two weeks later for good measure .
Chelsea lie third in the Premier League, four points behind leaders Manchester City, whom they play on Sunday. With one game left in the Champions League, there remains a chance, albeit a slim one, they can still reach the latter stages.
No wonder Pardew described the decision to sack the Italian as astonishing.
And it might have crossed Pardew’s mind that if Roman Abramovich were his boss, then there is a good chance he’d be out of a job by now.
Newcastle United have found it tough going this year. Juggling the Premier League and a European campaign that included two qualifying games has had a negative impact on domestic results; something that has come as absolutely no surprise to the manager.
Pardew expected this. Indeed, all you have to do is go back to what he said in August when he predicted his young and relatively inexperienced squad were going to be tested to the full by such a congested fixture list. This is why nobody at St James’ Park should be overly worried over some admittedly poor home results of late.
Pardew said: “You want to be in a competition that gives you some sort of fighting chance in your own league and this format is very difficult for Premier League teams.
“And we all kind of know that as Premier League managers. It is whispered about all the time. All I heard during the summer was ‘blimey, it’s going to be tough for you next year’ and it has been.
“But, of course, we will gain from the experience of it. I have spoken to (Stoke manager) Tony Pulis a couple of times and he would love to be in the competition this year, with the experience he gained last year, but it is difficult to back it up. That is something we are in danger of not being able to do if we do not actually win the competition. That is the pressure it puts on you.” Pardew’s main gripe is the amount of time he has had on the training ground with his players. He can measure that more in hours than days right now as the games come so quickly.
The Newcastle manager isn’t complaining. Rather, he just wants to highlight the fact these past couple of months have been on the hectic side. Pardew said: “We’ve lost a little bit of rhythm, perhaps, because of the training ground work we haven’t been able to do because of the amount of games we’ve had. It’s a different philosophy for us this season.
“Nevertheless, we’ve enjoyed the competition. It’s in the Premier League where we are slipping up.”