Pardew hits back at criticism
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has hit back at criticism of his time in charge at Newcastle, insisting he is not to blame for the Magpies' slide towards the relegation zone.
Newcastle have won only two of the 15 games since Pardew left the club in January and eight defeats in a row have left John Carver's side just two points above the bottom three.
Speaking to the Evening Chronicle, former chairman Freddy Shepherd claimed it is Pardew who should take responsibility for the team's struggles and that he "didn't leave Carver any favours".
Pardew, who has steered Palace above Newcastle to 12th in the table, dismissed Shepherd's assessment and says he hopes the Magpies can secure a valuable win over West Brom on Saturday.
"That's typically unfair of that individual and that paper," Pardew said.
"The local paper at Newcastle makes it very difficult for the manager.
"The players they have are trying their very, very best to get the club over the line.
"The group is short of confidence, I hope they gain that this Saturday and John Carver and the team can get them across the line.
"The players we had were tremendous during the time I was there and the results we had until I left were pretty excellent in terms of where we were.
"I'm not here to defend that situation, all I can say is I really hope Newcastle win on Saturday. It's a big game for them."
Palace host Manchester United on Saturday with both sides in need of a victory after three consecutive defeats.
The game at Selhurst Park will also see Wilfried Zaha face his former club, having endured a miserable spell at Old Trafford that included only four first-team appearances.
"I'd call it a period in his career that didn't work out, that happens to players and managers," Pardew said.
"Wilf has learned in the Premier League you need to do certain things defensively without taking away that offensive ability.
"He didn't get the opportunity to learn that at Manchester United because he didn't play enough.
"That's not the fault of Manchester United, that's just the standards they have, he perhaps wasn't quite ready.
"It's a player we hope can grow here and make an impact on Saturday. I'm sure he'll be motivated to do that."