FORTHRIGHT Alan Pardew admits the mood in his Newcastle camp is “doom and gloom” as they attempt to spark a Festive revival and avoid being dragged into the dogfight.
Pardew was frank in his confession that United are “not very good” at the moment but his stark words were tempered by defiance, with the Newcastle boss adamant that he can see light on the horizon.
The Newcastle boss is zeroing in on tomorrow’s crucial clash with QPR as a chance for the club to make a definitive break with the relegation fight ahead of a run of Christmas fixtures that takes in a trip to Arsenal and the hosting of a tricky Everton side.
He learned the club’s Europa League fate yesterday and admits that a trip to Metalist Kharkiv to the east of Ukraine is a “tough” assignment – as well as a leap into the unknown.
But first up is addressing the club’s perilous Premier League form, which has been a cause for concern on the training ground.
A remarkably candid Pardew said: “It’s doom and gloom. We’re happy with that, it’s where we are.
“We’re not walking around smiling and enjoying ourselves, which you can do when you’ve got a couple of wins under your belt and it makes for some lighthearted (training) sessions.
“But it’s pretty serious stuff when you haven’t and we want to make sure the players are focused on everything they’re doing in their lives as well as in their training.
“We haven’t won enough games, we’ve got to start winning and we’ve got to start showing that we want to win. But I do honestly think the last three or four games we’ve shown that.
“We’ve been slightly unlucky against Stoke and maybe you could argue against Man City in that second half.
“We could have had a lot more than we’ve got, so our situation has improved, but we’ve got to turn that into results – and quickly.
“You’re only as good as where you currently are and we’re not very good at the minute, according to the table. So we need to improve.”
Pardew, who said that he had no problem with Demba Ba’s French TV interview in which he spoke about his future and the team’s tactics, said there was no point tip-toeing around their current predicament.
“I’ve only got to look at the league table to know we’re in a dogfight. I don’t need anyone to tell me,” he said.
“I’ve been in this situation before and if you’ve got a team that’s not creating
chances and it’s your best team out there then it’s a real worry. We know we ain’t got our best team and we’re still creating chances, so I think that’s a good sign.”
One of Newcastle’s biggest problems this season has been a lack of training-ground preparation time.
For a tracksuit manager like Pardew, along with a studious and influential assistant like John Carver, it has been a serious hindrance.
That has been addressed this week, one of the few free midweeks that United have had so far this season.
“The physical stats have gone up straight away because we can tailor our training to what we need,” he said.
“When you have that game on Thursday that’s full pelt and it’s very difficult to recover from that, mentally as well. We haven’t had that problem (this week).
“We’re going into the game this weekend a bit like we did last year, when we had a full week of preparation. I don’t know how many games less QPR have played, they must have played seven or eight games less, so for them it’s the busy period, for us it’s normal.
“And I’m hoping we’ve done enough work to carry us through the four or five games.”
Pardew has also seen signs of a recovery. He said: “I think in the last three or four games we have improved, I definitely think that and the stats suggest that too. I think we had something like 40 more passes than Man City on Saturday, in the last three games we’ve dominated possession, we’ve created – more importantly – more chances than the opposition and more shots on target, etc, but we haven’t had the big result we’ve wanted.
“We have beat Wigan and we still need to beat QPR, but I still think there’s a bit of a result in us as well and I wouldn’t put it past us winning one of them other games.”