Carver: Newcastle must act soon
Caretaker Newcastle boss John Carver has pleaded with the club to end the uncertainty over Alan Pardew's replacement after seeing his side slip to a home defeat by Southampton.
A fortnight after Pardew was appointed as the new Crystal Palace manager, the Magpies are still looking for a head coach to take over at St James' Park, with a 2-1 defeat by the high-flying Saints leaving them with just a single draw from the four games they have played since.
Carver has made no secret of his desire to take charge on a permanent basis, but appeared to concede defeat after the third defeat of his temporary reign.
Asked if he wanted an end to the uncertainty, he said: "Absolutely, I think everybody does.
"I think I do, I think all the staff do, I think all the players do, I think the crowd certainly does and I am sure you guys do, so yes."
Managing director Lee Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr have been handed the task of identifying Pardew's successor and have already spoken to a series of candidates, with Remi Garde, Christophe Galtier, Steve McClaren and Thomas Tuchel understood to be among the list of names they drew up some time ago.
Newcastle do not play again until they visit Hull on January 31 - Carver and the players head for a mid-season break in Dubai on Sunday - and the 50-year-old is hoping for a resolution during that fortnight.
He said: "I hope so. I have had no conversations again since we last spoke on Thursday. I have totally focussed on this game today.
"I still love what I do, I still want to do it, there's no danger of that. But sometimes, it's out of your hands."
The Magpies seventh defeat in their last nine games came as Saints loan-signing Eljero Elia scored his first and second goals for the club, either side of Yoan Gouffran's fortuitous equaliser, to send them back into third place in the Barclays Premier League table.
However, the visitors were perhaps fortunate to escape without conceding an injury-time penalty when substitute Emmanuel Riviere's shot appeared to hit Jose Fonte's hand, although not in the opinion of referee Robert Madley.
Carver said: "It's a penalty, there's no danger it's a penalty. If the ball hits his hand and he's in a natural position, then you say maybe ball to hand, but not when you have got an L-shape and it smacks it straight on the palm of your hand, it's a penalty.
"That's a stroke of luck or fortune. We had a little bit in the first half with the goal, but you need a stroke of luck and a bit of fortune like that because jobs are decided on decisions like that and unfortunately, we are the guys who suffer because of that, not the officials."
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was understandably delighted with a victory which kept his side firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish.
He said: "If I had been asked the question in pre-season would we be third in the table after 22 games, maybe I would have laughed.
"But not now because we have a really good team and we have really good spirit and really good organisation, and I'm not surprised that we are now third in the league because we haven't stolen any points and what we have got, we have deserved.
"I am very happy and very proud of everybody. It was a long week, a difficult week, three away games, but okay, if you win games, that gives players the confidence and the spirit that you need to win against Newcastle at home.
"Everybody was proud after the win last week against Manchester United because that's history, that's a great place to win. But as a manager I think the win today is still better because it was the third game this week and we have some injuries."