John Carver: I'll worry about being Newcastle boss at the end of the season
Newcastle head coach John Carver is looking upwards rather than over his shoulder as the Barclays Premier League season enters its final phase.
The Magpies sit in 11th place in the table ahead of Saturday's home clash with struggling Aston Villa, 10 points clear of the drop zone, but four short of the top 10.
But with Carver in temporary charge following Alan Pardew's January exit and the FA Cup having come and gone with barely a whimper on Tyneside, disgruntled fans are already writing off the season.
However, the 50-year-old is adamant he will not allow it to peter out as he attempts to secure the job on a permanent basis.
"Listen, I am not giving up on anything. You have got to go for as high as you can. If you don't do that, you have got no ambition and that's certainly not the case with regard to the players and myself.
"We want to go for as high up that league as we can and we will endeavour to do that."
Carver's players will run out at St James' Park this weekend with something to prove after last weekend's 5-0 humiliation at Manchester City, and knowing their opponents are scrapping for survival.
But he is expecting a concerted response to what proved to be a very bad day at the office.
He said: "We have seen it with this team and this group of players that every now and again, we do take a bit of a drubbing. It's how we react to that. In the past we have reacted really well, and I expect that again.
"Off the back of the result we have just had, if they are not motivated and ready to prove a point and put things right after last weekend, then they shouldn't be professional footballers.
"I am hoping the result of last week will be enough to make them so determined that we need to win the game."
Villa are followed to St James' by Manchester United on Wednesday, and Carver knows his team must make a statement over the next few days.
He said: "We have got some tough games coming up, so it is important and we do know there's a little bit of pressure on. But good players can deal with pressure and we have got to handle that."