Belfast Telegraph

I've got new players, the rest is now down to me, says Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

By Martin Hardy

Alan Pardew has accepted the responsibility is now his to turn around Newcastle United's faltering season following the signing of five new players during the transfer window.

Pardew has been backed with funds by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley this month in a bid to arrest a run of 10 defeats in 14 Premier League games. That has left the club just two points above the relegation zone, and one above tonight's opponents, Aston Villa. Pardew knows he must integrate five French footballers into his squad, which is fighting in Europe and on the domestic front, and get them winning.

"I think the challenge for me," he said, "is to get a team quickly here. We've worked on that. The importance of the fixture is hard for them to comprehend. What happened to this club four years ago at Aston Villa [when Newcastle were relegated] is a message that will be difficult to portray to them unless you felt it.

"The most important thing is that we get performances and we hit the ground running with this team. There are some players that you just know are at the level are going to hit the ground running and I don't envisage Moussa Sissoko having a problem in this division or settling in quickly."

Pardew has also been boosted by reaching a deal with Fabricio Coloccini, who trained with the team yesterday, to stay for the rest of the season.

"I think it was a significant move that the owner was there [for the 2-1 defeat by Reading]," Pardew added. "In some ways, it was a watershed game in terms of the problems we were having. His reaction and that of Derek [Llambias, the managing director] has been very strong. Therefore, when I turn around at Aston Villa I'm going to see a lot stronger bench and it gives me a much greater chance of turning a situation around or improving a situation, or actually making sure the situation doesn't change.

"I think the signings have shown he [Ashley] is committed to the club because you don't sign players at that age if you're not committed to the club. If it was a short-term option he probably would have given me the signal to go and buy some older players to make sure we stayed in the division. If they were any good next year, it wouldn't really matter.

"His vision is much more long-term than that and that's why we've bought the players we have. That didn't happen because of the Reading game. All those players were well in the system and most of them well along the road to being finalised before the window but we've accelerated certainly one of those from this summer and certainly one of those a week ahead of schedule. So it might have cost Mike more money but we needed to do it.

"The players have helped, they understand I have to pick a team now that's right for Newcastle every week and they have to accept the decision and I won't be making too many excuses for them."

Odds: Aston Villa 7-4 Draw 2-1 Newcastle 7-4

Kick-off Tonight, 7.45pm (Tomorrow BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Referee M Dean (Merseyside)

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