Exclusive – Former Magpie defends Pardew: ‘Don’t judge Newcastle without a full-strength team!’

first_imgFormer Newcastle full-back Olivier Bernard has come to the defence of Alan Pardew, telling talkSPORT the under-fire boss doesn’t deserve the criticism currently being thrown at him by supporters.An angry Toon Army were vocal with calls for the boss’ axe during the side’s dreadful 4-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday.Newcastle have failed to record a win so far this season and currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League with just two points.However, Bernard – a key member of Bobby Robson’s successful Magpies side in the early 2000’s – believes a series of key player exits and early injuries have not been kind to Pardew.Asked if the criticism of the manager is fair, the ex-defender told Drivetime: “No, definitely not.“I wouldn’t judge Pardew before he has his best starting XI available to him, but the question is whether he is the man capable of galvanising the team to start winning games?“Newcastle are a club that should be pushing for Europe and seeing them at the bottom of the table is wrong.“But when you lose players like Siem de Jong, who should be their new captain really because he’s their most mature player now, it’s a big blow for the team.“There’s nothing Pardew can do about that and together with the departure of Yohan Cabaye in January, when your main playmaker leaves you know it’s going to be difficult.”The arrival of Ajax captain De Jong this summer was a major coup for the club, who were hit hard by the departure of star man Cabaye to PSG in January.However, the Dutch forward only played three games in a black and white shirt before being sidelined, while Hatem Ben Arfa and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, both major members of the Magpies squad, left on transfer deadline day.And after a summer of change, with a total of nine arrivals and eight departures at St James’ Park, Bernard has called for Pardew to have more control over the club’s transfers.He added: “I don’t think Alan Pardew has any real power over the sale of his players and that’s a problem.“With Ben Arfa and Mbiwa joining Cabaye in leaving, all of Newcastle’s best players have gone.“They’ve maybe made too many changes over the summer, the new players need time to adapt to the English game and that’s where the problem lies.“They only replaced players who left, they didn’t bring in any additional support, and until they address that and strengthen the squad they will continue to struggle.”last_img

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