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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Pardew axe looms ahead of crunch Ashley talks

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew's job is under no immediate threat despite a winless start to the Premier League season.

The 53-year-old found himself under intense pressure from fans once again after last night's 1-0 defeat at Swansea left the Magpies one place off the foot of the table with just three points from their opening six games.

However, there will be no "crisis" talks with owner Mike Ashley this week and Pardew will remain in charge for Saturday's trip to Swansea, and beyond whatever happens at the Liberty Stadium.

That does not amount to an unlimited vote of confidence from the club's billionaire owner, but an acknowledgement that not all the problems the team is experiencing on the pitch are down to the manager.

Pardew's squad underwent significant change during the summer, with nine new faces - Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles were immediately loaned back to Nottingham Forest - arriving at St James' Park. Pardew expects to have "some serious conversations" over the next few days with Ashley, who said in the build-up to the match the manager would be "finished'' if it ended in defeat - a comment Newcastle insisted was made in jest.

What Ashley subsequently saw from the stands last night was no laughing matter for him, Pardew or Newcastle's fans as the Tyneside outfit's wait for a victory in the Premier League this term extended to six games.

He said: "This is a tough job - make no bones about that. The fans are giving their honest opinion of what they believe.

"I know there is a big question mark about me being at this club and the only way I can answer it is to do the job to the best of my ability and try to come up with the answers.''

Newcastle rarely looked like equalising after Stoke went in front via Peter Crouch's 15th-minute header, although Jack Colback missed a golden chance to level when he hit the bar late on.

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