ALAN Pardew says he’s not for turning at Newcastle United – despite the flak coming his way.
Pardew is under increasing pressure at St James’s Park just weeks into the new season.
The 53-year-old is acutely aware that the mood among supporters has darkened over the past fortnight ahead of tomorrow’s game at Southampton.
Pardew’s position is looking more precarious than it was a few weeks ago, when there was some positivity on Tyneside.
Speaking ahead of the club’s visit to the St Mary’s Stadium, Pardew – whose tactics and man management have come under close scrutiny – insisted he was focused on the team – and not speculation about his future.
“I’m responding to pressure like I always do,” he said. “The only thing I can do is bring what I think is the right mentality to the group.”
Criticism of Pardew was particularly ferocious over the latter months of last season, when the club’s once-promising campaign unravelled.
And Pardew feels the media – the club banned three local newspapers last year – have “revved up” the mood among fans, who have long been critical of owner Mike Ashley for a lack of investment in the squad.
“If you ask most Premier League managers, they’ll say their treatment is very much the same,” he said.
“It’s probably a little bit more focused here, maybe because we’ve banned the local media.
“It seems to be slightly more revved up here. Everybody in the Premier League has it coming, but for me it’s probably come a little bit quicker than I expected. I have to deal with that.”
Pardew’s relationship with fans has been strained for some time, and he admits “trust” was lost last season.
“It’s important for the fans to respect and honour what you’re doing,” he said. “I think maybe some of that trust was lost at the back end of last season.
“There could be a number of arguments why you would consider that to be my fault, and I would have to accept those if that was the opinion of the fans.
“All I can do is honour what I think I do for this football club, and that’s an honest job.
“I have to try to put a team out that not only wants to win the game, but also does so in a manner works for this team.”
Asked if he could win back the trust of those supporters who want a change in manager, Pardew added: “You can only really enhance that relationship by winning games.
“We need to win some, simple as that. The pressure that the local media, and media in general, put on me at this football club will never change.
“Sometimes, when you’re at a club for a long time, and I’m the second longest serving manager in the Premier League now, it becomes a little more difficult, especially at a club of this size.
“People ask ‘why haven’t you won a trophy’, but we haven’t won a trophy since 1969.
“It’s very, very difficult. I have to try to look at the bigger picture – a bigger picture than the local media and some of our fans – but I also understand there’s an immediate world we live in.
“Immediate results are important, and I can’t take my eye off that either, but I do have to have a bigger vision.”