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Alan Pardew has spoken of his determination to see the job through at The Hawthorns despite a damaging run of results and off-the-field controversy, yet the West Brom Albion manager has also acknowledged the growing pressure around his position.
Albion have won one of their 13 league games since Pardew’s appointment, leaving the club seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, and the scrutiny surrounding the manager’s future has intensified in the wake of the antics in Barcelona last week, when four players broke a midnight curfew and allegedly stole a taxi during a team-bonding trip.
Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill have apologised for their part in the incident that led to them all being fined two weeks’ wages, but Albion remain a club in crisis and the focus has shifted to Pardew before a critical home game against Huddersfield Town. A defeat would be calamitous for Albion’s survival hopes and leave Pardew fighting to hold on to his job.
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“[Antonio] Conte summed it up this week by saying you’ve always got a bag packed [as a manager] – I’ve got a bag-and-a-half packed,” Pardew said. “If you’re asking me how I feel, I’m disappointed and of course I’m angry with what’s happened this last week, but I’m also determined and I don’t want to leave the football club.
“The spotlight does fall heavily on the manager, as José Mourinho has found out this week like myself, and we’re probably both hoping it’s somebody else’s turn next week.”
Albion anticipated Pardew’s arrival would provide the sort of bounce that clubs often enjoy after making a managerial change, yet there has been no tangible improvement in results. Pardew said: “I’m not surprised but disappointed that it hasn’t happened, and disappointed for the people that employed me. I’ve got 11 games to hopefully put that right. It’s not for the want of trying. I’ve gone into my records and used most of my repertoire but I’ve still got a few things to go.”
Outlining his reasons for thinking that Albion can still stay up, Pardew claimed performances have been better than results suggest and said that he was pinning his hopes on Daniel Sturridge, James Morrison and Nacer Chadli, all of whom remain sidelined through injury, contributing during the run-in. “Strange things happen in football,” he said. “Leicester proved that three years ago and I’m not talking about them winning the league. It’s about getting that victory and building on a victory.”