Pardew: The pressure is on
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits the pressure on Barclays Premier League managers has increased dramatically since his last spell in the top flight.
The former West Ham and Charlton manager arrived at St James' Park in December to pick up the reins of the Magpies' fight to remain among the big boys, a task they have all but achieved as a result of Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with leaders Manchester United.
However, having seen Aston Villa counterpart Gerard Houllier rushed to hospital overnight, Pardew insists the stakes have been raised even higher. He said: "From my earlier time in the Premier League to now, the emphasis seems to be so much more on the manager for good and bad, and I don't really think that's healthy or right, if I am honest."
He added: "It's about the clubs and players. They are the guys who go out there and perform and get you off your seat, they are the ones who really should be spoken to and discussed.
"Personally, I don't suffer too badly with stress, although my grey hair gives that away a little bit - but I had grey hair when I played and if you saw me play, it would be stressful. You have just got to be balanced and treat victory and defeat in the same manner if you can.
"It's very difficult, defeat, because we all suffer. Sir Alex [Ferguson] suffers, I suffer - and I suffer just as much in this division as I did in any other division. I would like to just wish Gerard all the best and hope he recovers very, very quickly because it's a business where we have to take care of ourselves at times."
Pardew will hope Newcastle take care of themselves at Blackpool on Saturday as they seek revenge for their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Ian Holloway's side in September.
A third successive reverse at Bloomfield Road would plunge the Tangerines into ever-deeper relegation trouble as two of last season's promoted sides continue to battle for the right to dine at the top table.
The Magpies' 40-point haul to date does not yet mathematically guarantee their presence, and nor would 43, although Pardew is not setting his players a target. He said: "I haven't even thought about a target because I think this team is good enough to be in this division and good enough for a top-10 finish, and we have got five games to prove that.
"I think 43 is out of the equation, and that's really where you want to put yourself as quickly as you can. They [Blackpool] are having a little bit of a down time, but that doesn't mean to say the season will be down time. There is still time for them to put it right. I feel they can do it, but hopefully after us."