ALAN Pardew has admitted Newcastle United must beat Queens Park Rangers – or else be dragged into a relegation battle.
The club has won just one of its last seven Premier League games and that sequence has left Newcastle just two points above the bottom three.
The QPR game on Saturday is followed by tough festive away games against Manchester United and Arsenal.
And unless the Magpies beat Harry Redknapp’s side at St James’s Park, they could find themselves in the relegation zone by the end of the year, with last season’s impressive fifth-placed finish becoming a distant memory.
“It’s going to be one of those days we must win,” Pardew said.
“Usually, reporters say it’s a must-win game – I’m telling you it’s must-win. That’s what we need to do.”
Pardew was heartened by his injury-hit team’s second-half performance in the weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to champions Manchester City.
While that has emboldened his side, Pardew’s not looking beyond the fixture against QPR, who won their first game of the season at the weekend.
“We’ve always been about the next game,” added Pardew.
“Even at Fulham (a 2-1 defeat last week), I said it wasn’t important – it’s gone. There’s nothing you can do about it.
“It’s the next game – that’s the only thing that you can legislate for. Already, I’m looking forward to it, and it can’t come soon enough.”
Pardew’s also pleaded with fans – many frustrated at a lack of summer investment in the squad ahead of the club’s return to European competition – to turn up in force for what is certain to be a nervy fixture.
“We’re going to have a lot of pressure this week,” he said. “QPR will be expected to lose, so they can come and play with a little bit of freedom.
“Not us. We’re going to have to play under monster pressure. It needs to be full up. They need to be right on our side, whatever happens – even if QPR go 2-0 up.”
H Newcastle’s Under-21s suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at Southampton last night.
Tadanari Lee and Sam Hoskins put the hosts two up before half-time and just after the break, Ben Reeves made it 3-0.
Adam Campbell pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute but Hoskins and Reeves then both scored again to complete the rout.
NUFC: Alnwick, Logan, Riley, Miele, Kitchen, Good, Maddison, Knight (Campbell 31), Hooper, Abeid, Amalfitano.
Subs not used: Mitchell, Gilliead, Desmond ”