Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew insists he isn’t worried by the comments made by owner Mike Ashley ahead of Monday’s clash against Stoke.
The Magpies owner reportedly told reporters that Pardew would be sacked if the club lost to Stoke, however Ashley’s lawyer insists the comment was made as a joke.
Pardew’s side are rock bottom of the Premier League and are still without a win this season but they will look to end that run on Monday evening.
They won in midweek in the Capital One Cup against Crystal Palace and showed plenty of heart as they responded after losing their lead.
Pardew insists the comments made by Ashley were a sign of support and he hopes his team can repeat their performance on Monday night.
He said: “I think he was trying to be supportive in his own kind of way. They [the comments] are what they are and unfortunately we have had those sort of headlines for two or three weeks.
“The focus for me really can only be Monday night.
“We are very conscious that we haven’t had the win. We have got to try to get the balance right because it’s not a boxing match, we can’t fight our way to a win.
“We have got to get a balance between having enough fight and playing, and I think we got that right at Palace. We had enough determination to win the game, but also were relaxed enough to play.”
Newcastle are 3.40 to pick up all three points on Monday, with the draw 3.34, while the Potters are 2.10 to take all three points.