Beaten Pards skips press conference
Under-fire Newcastle manager Alan Pardew dodged the press conference after his side were humbled by former club Southampton.
A poor start to the Barclays Premier League season has seen the 53-year-old - already a divisive figure in the north east - come under increasing pressure.
A recent poll showed 85 per cent of supporters did not want Pardew to stay on as Newcastle manager and they made that clear throughout Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Southampton.
Chants punctuated the thrashing at St Mary's, while a 'Pardew out' banner was held up in the away end and one angry fan even encroached on the pitch at full-time.
Perhaps wary of the scrutiny he would come under, Pardew did not attend the post-match press conference - nor did any of his staff - and only spoke to the broadcast media.
Asked if the fans' criticism was unfair, he told Sky Sports: "They're fair because you can't get beaten 4-0 as Newcastle manager. I've had it a few times and at this club it is tough to take.
"It is not easy to digest and not easy for the players either to play under those circumstances, so we have to be strong and try and tough it out this week and come back next week.
"We just have to put ourselves on the line, really, and be brave. Certainly, today, for us we have a bit more quality than we showed today, for sure, and we need to get that on the pitch."
Pardew was apologetic after what was a miserable display from his side, while Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was sympathetic to his counterpart's cause.
"I understand how difficult the situation is for them, and for Pardew, the manager," he said.
"They have qualities, they showed that as well, and for that reason it was a great result we got.
"It's always difficult because it's part of our job, you have to be concentrated every day. After a nice win, we have to prepare ourselves for next week.
"It's football, it's going fast and if it's going bad you have to wait to win again and if you are winning you have to be prepared over what is going to come.
"That's our job and if we don't like it we have to do something about it."
In the build-up to this game, Pardew pleaded for patience as he looks to blood in a host of summer acquisitions - a problem Koeman is making light work of.
Graziano Pelle, one of six recent signings starting for Saints, netted a first-half brace, which Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin complemented with efforts after the break.
"We had a great start," Koeman said. "We spoke about it because in our last match at home against West Bromwich we didn't do it in a good way and the tempo was too low.
"We had a great start, a high tempo and the big difference was we were really pressing in the beginning, we didn't give them the time to build up.
"We scored two fast goals and that gave us the confidence to play in a good way.
"It was a great performance during the first 45 minutes. We work very hard in every session.
"We know we need time, we know we have a lot of changes in the team but that's the reason you do training sessions to improve the qualities of the players and to bring the qualities of the players together, to have a good organisation in attack and defence. It is going well until now."