ALAN Pardew says he’s still the right man to lead Newcastle United forward.
But he admits the relegation-threatened club’s recent form has been woeful – and his players must stand up and be counted.
Newcastle are just five points above third-from-bottom Wigan Athletic, who have a game in hand, ahead of Saturday’s game against West Ham United at Upton Park.
And there have been calls from some supporters for Pardew to be dismissed in the wake of the weekend’s 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool.
The result, which followed the Tyne-Wear derby loss earlier this month, was Newcastle’s worst on home turf in 88 years.
While Pardew admits his team’s form hasn’t been good enough, he’s adamant he can keep the club in the top flight – and lead it up the table next season.
Asked by SportMail if he felt he was the right man to take United forward, Pardew said: “Yes.
“We’ve had a really, really poor month in terms of results. A few of the players perhaps thought after (the Benfica) game we’d be all right.
“But we’ve got one point from three league games, and that’s not good enough for this football club.
“If we’d have had four more points – or five points – suddenly we’re mid-table, where we should be after the run of injuries we’ve had.
“Now we’re in a dogfight, and we’ve got to fight.”
United’s hierarchy will stick by Pardew between now and the end of the season, and review the situation in the summer after the club’s fate has been decided.
Owner Mike Ashley, unhappy with the club’s domestic failings, will look for answers from Pardew, who was handed an eight-year contract early in the season.
Meanwhile, there were reports last night that dressing room unrest among some of United’s French contingent is undermining the club’s survival efforts.
Pardew needs every member of his squad pulling in the same direction.
Worryingly, stand-in captain Yohan Cabaye, the most influential French-speaking player, has struggled for form in recents weeks.