NEWCASTLE United’s players need to stay calm – or the team will carry on losing, says boss Alan Pardew.
Pardew’s beleaguered side visit Stoke City tomorrow on the back of three successive defeats, with 11 goals conceded, without reply, in losses to Manchester United, Southampton and Everton.
Pardew has taken a battering over the past few days, while his players have been accused of losing their focus since the club’s Premier League status was secured.
“There’s pressure on us which we need to project in the right manner,” Pardew said.
“We really want to get a result.
“Sometimes, when you’re like that, you get a bit edgy, perhaps too much.”
Pardew feels that “edginess” has told in the final third of the pitch, where Newcastle have struggled without leading scorer Loic Remy, who has an uncanny ability to slow the game down in and around the box.
“One of the problems is retention of the ball, and another is making the right decisions in the final third of the pitch,” added Pardew, whose side are ninth in the Premier League table with five games left to play.
“We need to be a bit calmer.
“It’s about getting the balance right between that hunger and desire, and showing a bit of quality in that final third.”
The watchword at the training ground has been “resilience” given the team’s recent capitulations.
Pardew said: “We’ve had a lot of criticism this week – myself and the team – and we have to use that criticism in the right way and be resilient.
“Resilience is very much a key word.
“It’s a word I’m using with the squad – we need to show that resilience on the pitch.”
Pardew’s options are limited by injury, though he is looking at making at least one change for the visit to Stoke, who are six points behind Newcastle in 10th place.
“We’re looking at a couple of things,” said Pardew.
“I think we do need to make a change in terms of trying to get a result, and a shift in trying to get that elusive goal.
“We’ve got to get ourselves a team which can really put in a performance that we can be proud of.”
Meanwhile, Stoke are keen for revenge, having been beaten 5-1 at St James’s Park on Boxing Day when nothing went right for Mark Hughes’s side.
“It was a tough day for Stoke – two sent off and a heavy defeat,” said Pardew. “They’ll be looking for a bit of revenge.”