Alan Pardew will not shirk Newcastle United challenge

TAKING ON THE CHALLENGE: Alan Pardew
TAKING ON THE CHALLENGE: Alan Pardew

ALAN Pardew’s insisted he won’t shirk the challenge of turning Newcastle United’s season around - after admitting he’s under pressure at the relegation-threatened club.

Pardew’s side, knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend, are just two points above the Premier League’s relegation zone.

And injury-hit Newcastle take on Chris Hughton’s Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday in desperate need of three points.

Supporters, frustrated that last season’s impressive fifth-placed finish hasn’t been built upon, have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of late.

The odds of Pardew - named the Premier League’s Manager of the Season last May for guiding the club back into Europe - losing his job have also been slashed by bookmakers in recent days.

While Pardew feels United’s poor run of form has everything to do with a run of injuries which have decimated an already-thin squad, he accepts that criticism will inevitably come his way until results improve on the pitch.

“I’m not immune from it,” Pardew said.

“I take responsibility for the team – I’ve got no problem in doing that.

“If I take the brunt of it (criticism), that’s not a problem for me. It’s part of my job.

“It was going well last year, and it’s not going so well this year. I’m not going to shirk from that.

“I don’t pay too much attention to it. My focus is on winning games.

“I need to get my best players out there, and that’s where I’m at. If they’re not to be ready for Norwich, then we have to make sure they’re on the pitch for Reading (on January 19). Then we go to the next game.

“I don’t think there’s a problem with the playing style, and I don’t think there’s a problem with the attitude.

“We just need our best players back.”