John Carver: Newcastle boss says point could be 'huge'

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at St James' Park
Newcastle 1-1 West Brom: John Carver says players now up for fight

Newcastle United manager John Carver says he has ended "probably the toughest week of my life" with a "huge" point against West Bromwich Albion.

Carver's side stopped a run of eight successive defeats but the Magpies are still 17th in the Premier League.

They are two points clear of 18th-placed Hull with two games remaining against QPR (away) and West Ham (home).

"That could be huge," said Carver. "It was important to stop the slide and that run of defeats."

It was the conclusion of a chaotic week on Tyneside following the 3-0 loss at Leicester City.

10 May16 May20 May24 May
Aston Villa (38 pts)-Southampton (A)-Burnley (H)
Leicester (37 pts)-Sunderland (A)-QPR (H)
Sunderland (36 pts)-Leicester (H)Arsenal (A)Chelsea (A)
Newcastle (36 pts)-QPR (A)-West Ham (H)
Hull (34 pts)-Tottenham (A)-Man Utd (H)
QPR (27 pts)Man City (A)Newcastle (H)-Leicester (A)
*Burnley (29 pts with two games to play) are relegated

That was followed by Carver suggesting defender Mike Williamson had got himself sent off deliberately - a claim the player denied - and Derby County manager Steve McClaren rejected the chance to take over for the last three games of the season.

Carver added: "There has been a lot said in the last week after the Leicester game and rightly so, but there was a response from the players and definitely from the fans.

"One thing I would say is when you see a performance like that - and hopefully it's not too late - is that the players do care and they do want to stay in the Premier League.

"It was like being back at a football stadium where the only thing that mattered was football.

"It was a great reaction from the fans and it affected the reaction of the players.

"They showed great character and determination to come back.

"From the first whistle to the last there was one team trying to win the game and one team trying to stay in the game and wait for a set play."

Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini had written an "open letter" to supporters calling for their backing.

Shearer 'surprised' by Coloccini letter

"It was important when you come up against a side like that that the fans stay with us. They were patient and that was important," said Carver.

"This was one of our biggest games since we lost at Aston Villa and went down [in 2009] and now our destiny is in our hands and we have got to deal with it.

"We can't afford to rely on other people."

Carver reflected on the reaction to his pre-match claim that he was "the best coach in the Premier League" despite presiding over Newcastle's worst run of league defeats - eight - since 1977.

"When I play golf and I am on the first tee I think I'm the best golfer in the world," he added.

"When I used to play cricket I thought I was the best all-round cricketer in the world."

Phil McNulty's analysis from Newcastle

"Newcastle United supporters offered their players the rare accolade of polite applause at the conclusion of the draw with West Bromwich Albion - hardly a show of ecstasy but a significant upgrade on the disapproval and acrimony brought on by eight straight losses.

"Those who gathered early and milled around The Gallowgate Stand and near the statue of Sir Bobby Robson watched and listened in despair as their Wearside rivals Sunderland won at Everton.

"It put Newcastle in an even more perilous situation and was reflected in the mood inside St James' Park that shifted from desperation to anxiety and fear - often inside a matter of seconds - especially when Victor Anichebe put The Baggies in front.

John Carver: 'I'm the best coach in the Premier League'

"The dated introduction of cheerleaders at half-time was presumably designed to lift spirits after Ayoze Perez's equaliser had given them more hope, but this crowd wants results not outmoded throwback gestures and the point gained here gave Newcastle's fans slightly more satisfaction.

"In a chaotic finish both sides could have won and there was almost a sense of relief when referee Chris Foy brought matters to a close.

"The point was not perfect but better than nothing.

"Newcastle are not safe yet but the end of their run of losses at least gave John Carver some respite from a week where he has been mocked, criticised, accused defender Mike Williamson of engineering his own red card at Leicester City and was almost replaced had Derby County manager Steve McClaren accepted an offer to step in.

"Carver was bullish and heart-on-the sleeve [when is he ever anything else?] when facing the media with a point to protect, and at least Newcastle's fans could adjourn to the bars around Tyneside to finally discuss something apart from defeat."

Listen to the goals from Newcastle 1-1 West Brom

Listen to Newcastle manager John Carver in 5 live's Football Daily

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