BELEAGUERED Newcastle head coach John Carver has told his players to forget about what their relegation rivals are doing as they attempt to drag themselves out of trouble.
The Magpies will run out against West Brom at St James’s Park tomorrow having gone into the weekend sitting just two points clear of the Premier League drop zone after a run of eight successive defeats.
I can’t afford – and neither can the players – to worry about what everybody else is doing. I didn’t even watch Hull’s game against Arsenal the other night because I can’t affect that.John Carver
Their form, coupled with growing tide of pessimism surrounding the club after last weekend’s deeply damaging 3-0 reverse at Leicester, has catapulted them into the thick of a survival scrap as they, derby rivals Sunderland and Hull all battle to keep their heads above water along with bottom two Burnley and QPR.
However, Carver insists he and his players simply have to concentrate on what they can affect.
He said: “We’re in a position where we can affect what happens. It’s in our hands. We’re not in the bottom three as it stands and there are three games left.
“I can’t afford – and neither can the players – to worry about what everybody else is doing. I didn’t even watch Hull’s game against Arsenal the other night because I can’t affect that.
“I’m going to put all my energy and effort into affecting what I can try to affect. That is this football team for the next three weeks.
“I’m not bothered about what everybody else does. It’s about what we try to do.”
In the circumstances, victory over West Brom – Newcastle last collected three points against Aston Villa on February 28 – would represent a major boost, and Carver is keen not to waste time.
He said: “The earlier you get the results, the better.”
That, however, may prove far from straightforward with the Baggies having eased to the 40-point mark with last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Indeed, Tony Pulis’s men are unbeaten in three games and have collected seven points along the way and Carver, who will be without suspended duo Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat and the injured Siem de Jong, is under no illusions as he prepares for a potentially season-defining encounter.
He said: “It will be a tight game – I don’t think there will be many goals in it, judging our record and theirs. We need to find a way to win the game.”