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Carver confident of improvement

Published 09/04/2015

John Carver is still picking over the bones of Newcastle's defeat to Sunderland
John Carver is still picking over the bones of Newcastle's defeat to Sunderland

John Carver has insisted he would walk away from Newcastle if he did not believe owner Mike Ashley will provide significant investment to strengthen the squad this summer.

The Magpies have slipped alarmingly off the pace in the race for a comfortable top-half finish in the Barclays Premier League since the turn of the year as injuries and suspensions have exposed the lack of depth and numbers in a playing staff assembled on a budget.

Carver has had to deal with the fall-out from that still backfiring gamble since replacing Alan Pardew as head coach, and while he has been fully involved in planning the way forward along with Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley, he has found himself firmly in the firing line of disgruntled fans after a fifth successive derby defeat by Sunderland proved the final straw for many.

However, he believes the plans currently being formulated to ensure the mistakes of the recent past are corrected will help to steer the club back in the right direction.

Asked about the dissatisfaction of fans with the way the club is being run, Carver said: "I can understand that, but we're already addressing it behind the scenes. They know what they have to do.

"Mike and Lee Charnley know what they have to do - and I'm telling you now, if I was sitting here and I thought they were giving me lip-service, I would say, 'Thanks very much, I'm off - I'm walking away from this'.

"But I'm not because I know what we have to do, I know what they're saying to me is right.

"I know what work is being done, and they've said it, they've gone on record. They've said that we need to bring players into this football club, first of all to boost the size of the squad, but also to improve the quality, to take us on.

"We can't stand still, because other clubs are not standing still and they know that. We have to go with them. And if we don't, you get left behind and they know that."

Asked if he really would walk away if he did not believe what he was being told, Carver replied: "Let me tell you something - if I didn't have enough belief in what they were trying to do and the promises that they've said about the summer, then yes."

That is unlikely to placate Newcastle's most vociferous critics, some of whom have launched a social media campaign designed to force Ashley to sell the club, starting with a boycott of the next home game against Tottenham on April 19.

Carver urged supporters to continue to back the team as they attempt to ease themselves to mathematical safety following four consecutive - and in the case of the latter one, calamitous - defeats, but acknowledged their right to protest.

He said: "All supporters go to work, pay their money and they're entitled to do whatever they want to. The one thing I would say is we've had this in the past and the fans have got behind the team. That's important. Especially the situation we're in at the moment, we need that.

"But I still have sympathy for the people who want to do that - that's fine."

Abject surrender at the Stadium of Light simply served to heighten anger, and while Carver is prepared to take the criticism coming his way as a result, he is having to do so at the same time as processing his own hurt and disappointment.

He said: "I've never, ever felt like this in my life. It's the lowest, darkest feeling I've ever had, because I'm suffering two-fold: one, as the head coach, and secondly as a supporter.

"I'll be hurting for a long time now, well into the summer, because of this situation."

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