Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew facing biggest test at Toon

NO PARTY ... Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew.
NO PARTY ... Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew.

ALAN Pardew admits turning round Newcastle United’s faltering Premier League season will be the biggest challenge he’s faced at the club.

Southampton inflicted a third successive domestic defeat on Pardew’s side at the St Mary’s Stadium yesterday.

Goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez gave Nigel Adkins’s side a comfortable 2-0 win.

And on recent form – one win from eight Premier League games – the injury and suspension-hit club will struggle to finish in the top half of the table, let alone again challenge for a European place.

The result saw the club end the weekend 14th in the division – and just four points above the relegation zone. Asked if Pardew was faced with the biggest challenge yet of his tenure at United, he told the Gazette: “For sure – there’s no doubt about that.

“We’re really having to fight.”

Lallana gave Southampton the lead late in the second half after a spell of pressure from the hosts.

After Vurnon Anita and Davide Santon forced saves from Paulo Gazzaniga, Ramirez put the game beyond a disjointed Newcastle with a 60th-minute strike.

And United were fortunate Southampton didn’t add to their advantage, with Jose Fonte and Puncheon both hitting the woodwork.

“When we conceded the goal, we showed a little bit of spirit, but it was too little, too late,” added Pardew.

“We could have had an equaliser at a crucial time with Vurnon.

“Their goalie made a great save from Santon. But it was too little, too late, really.

“They had a greater intensity than us in the game. We struggled to contain them at times. It was disappointing.”

Pardew must now mentally patch-up his battered side ahead of Wednesday night’s visit to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City.

Twitter: @milesstarforth