In a recent interview, John Carver told of how he and Alan Pardew split the workload at Newcastle, with Pardew concentrating mainly on the defensive side of things and Carver concentrating on attack. Carver said:
“Every Monday he [Pardew] comes into work having compiled a defensive report on the opposition. That’s his project, working with our video analysts to provide players with the best information.
“This week, for example, he will talk about Manchester City’s angles of attack, their set-pieces, their movement, as well as focussing on individuals. The lads will be made aware of Dzeko’s strengths and weaknesses, the best way to nullify Silva, Milner’s incredible work-rate, everything.
“That takes care of Monday to Thursday. On Friday it’s my turn when we look at ways to get at opponents. Put simply, Alan concentrates on how not to lose and I then find ways to win.“
It’s interesting that we spend the largest portion of the week on defence and goes some way to explaining why we have the best defensive record in the Premier League. I don’t know if that’s the typical way a Premier League manager does things but I can only imagine that it’s totally different to the way Keegan ran things in the 90’s, where it seemed that Darren Peacock and Philippe Albert were only vaguely aware they were defenders.
Presumably, the way a manager sets this sort of thing up has a lot to do with the team he has at his disposal and clearly – judging by our third position – what Pardew does works well for our current team.
Carver admits that he couldn’t understand why Chris Hughton was sacked in favour of Alan Pardew:
“For a start, I was angry that Chris had been sacked just a few weeks after the 5-1 win over Sunderland.
“When I heard Alan was taking over, I thought it was a strange decision.
“Newcastle are a club that have traditionally had big-name managers and I couldn’t understand why the club thought he was the right man.“
But when offered the job at Newcastle, Carver was soon convinced:
“It took only five minutes to realise this fella’s got something.
“Alan’s plans for Newcastle really excited me and I needed no convincing to return to the club I love.
“I signed a four-month contract in case things didn’t work out, but both of us soon knew it would be a more permanent arrangement.“
So far so good for Pardew and Carver.
I think there are a lot of people waiting for this horrendous three game run we have so that they can say “I knew Newcastle didn’t have what it takes”, but in fairness few teams will pick up points at either Eastlands or Old Trafford and I reckon we’re good for a point against Chelsea anyway. I think if we can make life difficult for the League’s top 2 and not be complete pushovers we’ll have proved that we’re worthy of our position and – who knows – we might surprise a few people yet.