A YOUNGER Alan Pardew would have hit back. And then some.
It’s fair to say it’s not been the easiest week of Pardew’s managerial career.
Criticism of Pardew and his beleaguered Newcastle United players, in the wake of last weekend’s 6-0 defeat to Liverpool, has been unflinching and uncompromising.
It’s been unavoidable. It’s been brutal.
What’s been written in print has been measured compared to what’s been said in the pubs and clubs of Tyneside.
No one at the club has been spared, and Pardew himself has taken the biggest battering.
But he’s taken the bulk of it on the chin. He’s had to. After all, the loss was United’s worst at home in 88 years.
However, the club did react strongly to suggestions of dressing-unrest.
For his part, Pardew has had to keep his focus on relegation-threatened Newcastle’s last three Premier League games, with West Ham United this afternoon’s opponents at Upton Park. To do that, he’s had to insulate himself from much of what has been said by supporters and media alike.
“It’s important that my psychology for the game is strong,” Pardew said.
“I’m an experienced manager now. I’m not a young manager.
“In the past I would have reacted to some of the criticism this week. I haven’t reacted to any, and I’m not going to.
“I listen to it. If I think it’s got any substance, I’ll address it. But most of it has been really unhelpful, and not fair.
“That, I can easily dismiss. I’ll accept that and keep myself together.
“When I turn up in that dressing room (at Upton Park), trust me, I want to win that game.
“I want to do everything I can to win it. I don’t care what’s been said.”
The blood letting behind the scenes has also been painful.
In his own words it was “tense” at the club’s Benton training ground at the start of the week as players faced up to what had happened at St James’s Park two days earlier.
“There’s a line that needs to be drawn,” added Pardew.
“There’s a blood letting. We’ve done that. The Press have certainly done that.
“Then it’s about moving on. By Tuesday afternoon, we were moving on. Monday was tense – I’m not going to say it wasn’t. It was very tense. It was a tough day.
“You’ve got to understand all these players’ family and friends are Newcastle fans. They instantly become them. They all suffer as well.
“We suffered terribly in terms of that defeat, but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t bounce back quickly.
“That’s the beauty of football – you can. With our destiny in our hands, we’ve got to take that confidence into Saturday.”