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Pardew happy to survive Newcastle whirlwind

While resented by some fans, Newcastle United's new coach broke the team's losing streak in a 3-1 home win over Liverpool

AFP, Sunday 12 Dec 2010
Pardew
Alan Pardew
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Alan Pardew admitted he had endured a whirlwind first 48 hours in charge of Newcastle United, praising sceptical Geordie fans as "brilliant" after his home debut yielded a 3-1 victory over Liverpool.

Pardew replaced Chris Hughton midweek on a five a and a half year contract, a move which sparked protests by fans against unpopular Newcastle owner Mike Ashley before Saturday's St James's Park clash.

But after taking his first steps towards winning supporters over, the 49-year-old former Southampton and West Ham manager revealed: "The reaction of the club's senior players and the general welcome I've had from everyone has made life easier for me. We've started the relationships; we hope to now move forward.

"The backing from the fans was brilliant. They reacted with disappointment to losing Chris, which is understandable because he's a gentleman. Ultimately, the fans don't support me, they support the shirt.

"The noise level was something I've only encountered in cup finals. Getting my message out to the players was difficult and I might need to turn to sign language in the future.

"I popped up to see Mike Ashley straight after the game. He was pleased because it's probably not been the best week he's had, but the win was about the players who showed their spirit and unity.

"I've worked with Chris Hughton and he's very unfortunate not to be sitting here now, but this game can be cruel. I had a very similar experience at Southampton. I wanted to focus the team and ensure they represented the club in the right manner. They did that and more."

In contrast, Roy Hodgson admitted he must find an answer to Liverpool's wretched away form.

Newcastle leapfrogged the Merseyside club to climb up to eighth in the Premier League and leave Liverpool with just one win and a paltry five points from their nine games on the road this season.

In the game, Dirk Kuyt cancelled out Kevin Nolan's early strike in front of a crowd of over 50,000. But late goals from skipper Nolan's fellow Liverpudlian Joey Barton and England forward Andy Carroll deservedly broke a five-game winless run for the hosts.

Asked about his side's appalling form on their travels, Hodgson said: "It's a very simple question, but I don't know how to give it a simple answer. I suppose the simple answer is that we don't win enough.

"It's obvious confidence is a factor. The longer you go without winning the more it plays on your psyche and confidence, but to be honest we didn't perform well enough to win.

"We gave the ball away too often and it's a major setback and a major blow because we've had a couple of good games recently. I had high hopes after the equaliser but we let them back into the game and conceded a second goal the like of which you don't want to see as a coach.

"The fact remains that we should have cleared the ball once or perhaps twice before Barton poked it home for their second. A lot of their spirit was down to us not producing at the same level in the second half as we had in the first."

A clearly annoyed Hodgson refused to use the absence through injury of influential duo Jamie Carragher and Steve Gerrard as an excuse for Liverpool's latest away defeat.

The Reds' skipper hopes to return against Fulham next Sunday, and the manager added: "Of course you miss Jamie and Steve, of course you miss them. But we didn't miss them in terms of the result. If we continue to concede goals like the first then it doesn't matter whether they play or not."

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