Belfast Telegraph

Hughes sympathises with Pardew

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has expressed sympathy for under-pressure Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, but is ready to turn the screw again.

Pardew has faced vehement protests from Magpies fans calling for him to be sacked following the club's wretched start to the season as they are currently bottom of the Barclays Premier League with no wins and just three points from five games.

At one point during Saturday's home clash with Hull, the exit door was staring Pardew in the face as his side trailed 2-0 with 17 minutes remaining.

Newcastle hit back, though, to force a draw before following up with an extra-time victory in the Capital One Cup at Crystal Palace on Wednesday to ease some of the strain on Pardew.

Despite understanding his opposite number's plight, Hughes is ready to add to Pardew's pain going into the league clash between the teams at the Britannia Stadium on Monday.

"It's a difficult business we're in and you don't like to see a fellow manager under pressure like that," said Hughes.

"But Alan's a very experienced Premier League manager. He's been there a long time in charge of a big club with big demands and big expectations.

"I seem to recall he's been through similar periods before and he's come out the other side, so it shows he has the capacity and ability to turn the situation around.

"They've started doing that by coming back from a difficult situation in the league, and then they had a great result in midweek, so their confidence is probably higher than it was two games ago.

"From our point of view it's a bit of a shame they will have had that turn in confidence with those two performances.

"We will have to be mindful of that, but we just want to take care of our own business.

"If that adds to the pressure Alan seems to be under he understands that's what we have to do."

Hughes senses whilst the fans may be against Pardew, his players at least are with him.

"It seems he's shaping the team and there have been a lot of changes which he's had to deal with," added Hughes.

"But his team has shown a lot of character in these last couple of games, they seem to be playing for him, and as a manager you want to see your players still doing that.

"There's no reason why they shouldn't be doing that because he's a good, experienced manager at this level."

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