NEWCASTLE United are short of a lot of things, notably players and points.
But John Carver, maybe surprisingly after a club-record run of eight successive Premier League defeats, isn’t short of self-belief.
Carver still feels he can be the club’s “Special One”.
The 50-year-old head coach – whose relegation-threatened side take on West Bromwich Albion at St James’s Park tomorrow – has insisted that he will “walk away” from the game the moment he loses his belief in his ability.
Carver, however, is aware that most fans do not share his own faith in his ability.
His record stands at two wins from 17 games.
I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League. That’s what I think. Now there’s nothing wrong with that.John Carver
If Newcastle’s losing run continues, the club WILL go down.
And on last weekend’s evidence against Leicester City – Carver’s side lost 3-0 at the King Power Stadium after putting in one of the most abject and inept performances in the club’s recent history – United’s days in the top flight could well be numbered.
“I have not lost my self belief,” said Carver. “I still feel I am the best coach around.
“I tell you I ain’t lost my belief, and the day I lose my belief is the day I will do something totally different. I will walk away from it or retire. I would be wasting my time if I lost that.”
Carver feels the club’s recent record is NOT a damning indictment on his coaching and managerial ability, but instead a reflection of the injuries and suspensions which have decimated an already-weak squad.
“It’s a tough time, but if I walk around with my face on the floor, it’s going to affect people around me,” said Carver.
“I’ve got good people around me who actually help me behind the scenes.
“I still have the enthusiasm for it. I try not to take as much notice of what’s going on on the outside because that can’t affect me.
“What can affect my situation is my train of thought and how positive I am. I am a positive guy.
“I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League. That’s what I think. Now there’s nothing wrong with that.
“But I still do. If I have the right tools I can do the job. I’m doing the job to the best of my ability at the moment, and I’ll continue doing that for the next three weeks.”
United, two points above third-from-bottom Sunderland, could drop into the relegation zone should they suffer a ninth successive loss against West Brom, who will be keen to take advantage of the vulnerability to set-pieces highlighted by Leicester.
Carver, however, is not contemplating the consequences of yet another defeat.
“I’m not thinking about losing,” he said. “That’s where I am at the moment.
“Think about it, I’m their leader, and I can’t resign myself to this situation. If they see me walking around on the floor, that’s not a good thing.
“I have to be as upbeat as I can and still believe I am the best at what I do, irrespective of what everyone else thinks.
“Let’s get to the summer, then everyone can have their opinion and say what they want to say. Not a problem.
“But I am not having any distractions. I still believe in my own ability, and the day I don’t, I might as well do something else.”
While Carver has been able to lift himself, much will depend on whether the players – who held a meeting amongst themselves on Monday in the wake of the Leicester defeat – can lift themselves.
“They have shown me signs they want to address problems and do something about it now,” said Carver.
“The criticism they have had and we have all had – a lot of it is deserved, some of it is not.
“We collectively take responsibility. What I will say is that they realise they have to react to it.”