JOHN Carver has told ex-professionals to lay off him at Newcastle United – and put themselves in his shoes.
Carver’s side are in freefall, having lost six successive Premier League games.
And former Newcastle striker Michael Owen, now a BT Sports pundit, said he couldn’t see the relegation-threatened Magpies getting another point this season.
Other TV pundits, including Sky Sports duo Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, have been brutal in their assessment of Carver’s side over the past few months.
But head coach Carver – who says he does listen to former Sunderland manager Peter Reid and ex-Newcastle boss Graeme Souness – feels some of the criticism that has come the Tynesiders’ way has been unfair given the injuries and suspensions which have beset the club.
Asked about criticism from Owen and others, Carver said: “Ex-players? I don’t have a problem with anyone having an opinion.
“Where I have the problem is when there are people that have an opinion who have never been in this situation; never been in my situation.
“They have never had to sit here and pick a team when you have got so many injuries, suspensions, or dealing with situations on the training ground or having to deal with things coming from left-field that you think ‘where’s that come from?’.
“When I see someone like Peter Reid go on TV, who has been in this situation, he has managed in this region, he understands what it feels like.
“When he starts to say things, I listen to what he says. I respect what he says.
“That’s what I am saying. Let’s not start a war here, because I accept that the likes of Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher – whoever – have played hundreds of Premier League football matches, and I haven’t.
“I understand that – I don’t have an issue with that – but sometimes there has to be a little bit of sympathy with the people doing this job.
“When you have never gone in and put your little foot in the water and tested it, then it is a little different.
“There are a lot of people out there who don’t do it because they can’t do it. It is a difficult situation.
“It’s easy talking with a tactics board, but all of a sudden in this position you have to make a decision because your back four is not high enough and someone is causing you problems because of it.
“If you don’t see that during a game, then you have a problem. That’s the difference.
“People don’t see that. People are entitled to criticise, and how they do it is up to them. Ex-players I don’t have a problem with, especially the ones who have tested the water.
“I never listened to Graeme (Souness) when I was Academy director (at United), but what I will say is that he talks an awful lot of sense on the TV.”