A 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Monday night further increased the pressure on Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, with the visitors unable to find a response to Peter Crouch’s 15th-minute header.
The Magpies managed 16 shots on goal over the course of the 90 minutes, but just one effort was on target, as defeat leaves the club on three points from their six matches – their worst start to a campaign in 11 seasons.
Ahead of the match, owner Mike Ashley – who the club insist was merely joking with his comment – said Pardew would be ‘finished’ with another loss, but the former Southampton boss is still not giving up hope of a turnaround.
'It’s a tough place to come, Stoke, on any given day, but today it was especially tough for us,' Pardew told Sky Sports.
'It was slight margins but it’s another defeat, and we can’t keep getting beat – we’re going to have to address that.
'We’ve got to find a bit more quality in the final third,' he said. 'Our delivery and method let us down in that area. We did a little bit more at the end when we found some width with the team, but I think we’re going to have to add a couple more changes to this XI to give ourselves a bit more thrust.
'It leaves us in a position where we’re in the bottom three and we’re going to have to fight. I have to fight, the team has to fight, and that’s what we’ll continue to do until we can turn it around.
'I think it’s important to show to the team that I’m here to lead and that’s what I’m going to do.'
With Newcastle recording only five league wins since the turn of the year, patience is running thin in the north east, and the reaction among fans suggests support for Pardew is now at an all-time low.
I was with giving Pardew time to turn it around. After the changes done in the 2nd half I've changed my mind. Time for a change #NUFC— Roy Kaviani (@roykaviani) September 29, 2014
I think Pardew has made an honest mistake between Champion League football and the Championship #nufc— Andrew Milner (@YesMilner) September 29, 2014
Off to bed. Hoping pardew is gone when I wake up and we get someone decent in next week. #nufc— Rob Gilbert-ovens (@Thegeordiefaith) September 29, 2014
Alan Pardew, you ARE the weakest link goodbye. #nufc— Ian McWilliams (@macaz1977) September 29, 2014
Okay so I was all for giving Pardew another chance but sack that! #NUFC— ★ Adamm. ☜ (@adamleach94) September 29, 2014
You have to be honest and say. The players are playing badly at #NUFC and there's little Pardew can do about that really. Too many egos.— Dan (@DanCarl_) September 29, 2014
Blame Pardew/Ashley all you want but the players are just not performing. Can't even count how many times newc gave the ball away. #nufc— Thomas Chilton (@ThomasChilton) September 29, 2014
What worries me is who we'll get in to replace Pardew.... #NUFC— Shane Saunders (@ShaneSaunders88) September 29, 2014
I think Pardew was all too aware that Ashley wasn't "joking" at all. #nufc— Ross (@_Jenky88) September 29, 2014