Pardew: Too much pressure on bosses

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said English Premier League managers are being made scapegoats for players’ poor performances.His comments come in the wake of Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier spending time in hospital with an unspecified health problem.

Pardew’s men held title-chasing Manchester United to a credible goalless draw on Tuesday but face an equally difficult challenge when they travel to relegation-threatened Blackpool on Saturday.

He said: “From my earlier time in the Premier League to now, the emphasis seems to be so much more on the manager for good and bad, and I don’t really think that’s healthy or right, if I am honest.”

“It’s about the clubs and players. They are the guys who go out there and perform and get you off your seat, they are the ones who really should be spoken to and discussed.”

“Personally, I don’t suffer too badly with stress, although my grey hair gives that away a little bit – but I had grey hair when I played and if you saw me play, it would be stressful.”

First-choice goalkeeper Steve Harper was missing on Monday and will again miss out for Saturday’s trip to Bloomfield Road.

Harper’s understudy Tim Krul put in a credible performance in midweek and will again start between the sticks.

Pardew said: “Harps is not right and we will have to review him over the next couple of weeks.”

“He is not necessarily out of the season, but it could be that he needs a small operation just to sort this little problem out.”

“It is not a major problem but we will have to look at that and weigh it up over the next couple of weeks.”

Also out are midfielders Dan Gosling (knee) and Hatem Ben Arfa (broken leg).