Belfast Telegraph

Carver gets Mourinho backing

Newcastle caretaker boss John Carver has a big-name backer to land the job full-time after revealing Jose Mourinho told him he deserves a chance.

The 49-year-old has made no secret he wants the position on a permanent basis, having stepped up following Alan Pardew's departure to Crystal Palace.

Newcastle are without a win in Carver's three games at the helm, but played well on Saturday and caused Chelsea plenty of problems before the Blues secured the 2-0 win which took them clear at the top of the Premier League table.

But, as his side enjoyed a dominant spell over their west London hosts, Carver was approached by Mourinho on the touchline and was given support by the Portuguese.

"He said to me 'if you keep playing like this you'll get a five-year contract as Newcastle manager'," Carver revealed.

"It was nice. At the end of the game he said 'you deserve the job, you're ready for it now'. He said 'I hope you get it'. We just laughed and he gave me another hug - he must have hugged me 10 times. He kicked the ball at me once as well, but I didn't react. I've calmed down now!

"He's a great guy and I go back because I'm great friends with Steve Clarke and I've spent time here watching training, so I do know him. And with his relationship with Sir Bobby (Robson) and my relationship, there is a connection there."

Newcastle moved on Sunday to dismiss speculation that they were on the verge of appointing a new head coach.

Speculation has been rife over the last 24 hours that an announcement is imminent with Remi Garde having been installed as an odds-on favourite by the bookmakers.

However, Press Association Sport understands that, while club officials have spoken to the Garde camp, they have also held exploratory discussions with the representatives of several other potential candidates, and that further talks are planned during the coming days.

Managing director Lee Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr have spent the last week drawing up a list of possible successors to Pardew and then whittling it down to those they believe could do the job.

However, some of those under consideration are currently in employment, and that further complicates matters with the likes of St Etienne's Christophe Galtier, Derby's Steve McClaren and Ajax's Frank de Boer having publicly distanced themselves from the vacancy.

The Magpies could yet make a temporary appointment - Carver would appear well placed in those circumstances - while they wait for their man.

But the recruitment process remains very much in its infancy and sources on Tyneside are adamant that no one has yet been offered the job.

Carver insists he is happy to manage the club on a week-to-week basis in the short-term but expects a decision to be made following next weekend's game at home to Southampton.

He has already shown he can get the best out of players, although admittedly not yet over a sustained period, and was behind Remy Cabella's best Newcastle display as the Frenchman ran the Chelsea defence ragged in the opening exchanges.

Carver said he had spoken to Cabella in front of the entire squad during the week and told him he wanted more from him defensively before backing him to play a key role at Stamford Bridge

"I said it in the team meeting (on Friday) because it was important that we know what ability he has got, but he has been a bit lax on the other side of the game," Carver added.

"The one thing we demand and our fans demand is people working hard. We love people with creativity and he's got that in abundance. He's just got to start adding that end product to what he does."

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