John Carver told his Newcastle United players to clear off for two days after the club’s defeat to Queens Park Rangers – so they could “clear their heads”.
The relegation-threatened club’s players were given 48 hours off after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Queens Park Rangers.
It has been intense, and maybe I needed a bit of a break, because it’s been even more intense for me. Sometimes, the break is better than coming in and just going through the motions.John Carver
Carver’s decision to give his squad two days off was questioned by some fans, as was his own appearance at a charity golf day on Monday.
The 50-year-old, however, has defended his preparation for Sunday’s must-win final game of the season against West Ham United at St James’s Park.
“From a psychological point of view, it gave the players a chance to clear their heads and start again,” said head coach Carver.
“Sometimes, you need that, and to be honest, maybe some of the staff needed a bit of time away from it as well.
“It has been intense, and maybe I needed a bit of a break, because it’s been even more intense for me. Sometimes, the break is better than coming in and just going through the motions.
“What’s the point of bringing them in just for the sake of it?”
Carver felt bringing his players in on Sunday – or Monday – to “tear a strip off them” would have proved counter-productive ahead of one of the biggest games of in club’s Premier League history.
United’s players were given a dressing down after the recent 3-0 defeat to Leicester City – and Carver felt that ploy did NOT work.
“I don’t think bringing in them just to tear a strip off them would have achieved anything,” he said.
“That’s definite. I did that after the Leicester game, and you can’t really say that it worked. I’ve done it, and you can only do it so many times.
“You have to try to find different ways of dealing with different situations. That’s why I did what I did, and I stick by it 100 per cent.
“When we came in to train (on Tuesday) it was so lively that that just convinced even more that I was right.
“It was really near to the knuckle at times, and that was great.
“We got all of the Under-21 players and all the senior players together – we had about 40 in all – and we had lots of different games with the young lads playing with the senior lads. It got quite lively.”
Carver – whose 17th-placed side are two points above Hull City, who have a superior goal difference – feels the belated start to the week was the best option for the team.
“In the past, we’ve had three days leading into a game, four days leading into a game, and it hasn’t worked,” he said.
“It would be normal to train on a Monday and Tuesday, have a Wednesday off, and then train on the Thursday and Friday leading in to the Saturday.
“That’s a normal week for most football clubs. With this game being on a Sunday, you work backwards, so the Monday became the day off.
“The decision was made to effectively start the week on the Tuesday. Unless you’re playing a midweek game, your normal week will nearly always be two days of work, then a recovery day, then another two days after that.”