Newcastle players face media blackout ahead of West Ham

Nick Purewal 06:03 18/05/2015
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In the firing line: Carver.

John Carver will impose a media blackout on his Newcastle players in one final bid to complete their Premier League relegation escape.

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Saturday’s 2-1 loss at already relegated QPR means Newcastle will go into their final-day match against West Ham at St James’ Park still at risk of the drop, only two points clear of 18th-placed Hull.

Manager Carver will tell his players to put their focus on their match and ignore all media coverage of their relegation fight.

“I’ll tell the players to keep away from the TV and going online, to keep them focused on preparation,” he said. “If you take your eye off the ball you get punished, and we’ve got to keep our focus sharp.

“It’s still in our hands, and if you want it enough then you can do something about it. We’ve got a week to get our heads around this situation.”

Carver admitted the weight of expectation could have contributed to Saturday’s defeat as Newcastle threw away a lead and missed the chance to secure their place in the top flight.

The Magpies boss believes he has emptied his box of tricks in his bid to break Newcastle’s malaise, but will focus on keeping his players calm in the coming week.

“I’ve tried everything in the book I think,” said Carver. “Sometimes the quality’s not there, you’re just not good enough, and Saturday might have been that situation. Pressure’s a funny thing, but now we have to control it.”

One thing Hull manager Steve Bruce has been unable to control is the amount of injuries to key players and he believes they have crippled the Tigers’ bid for survival this season.

A 2-0 defeat to Tottenham on Saturday means Hull must beat Manchester United at home next weekend to have any hope of staying up. Hull spent more than £40 million (Dh231m) on new players last summer but too many have failed to deliver.

Robert Snodgrass, signed from Norwich for £6 million (Dh34m), has not played since dislocating his kneecap on debut while Mo Diame, Michael Dawson and Nikica Jelavic have all endured lengthy spells on the sidelines.

“Seven or eight of the team against Tottenham are the team that got me here two and a half years ago,” Bruce said. “It’s not time for excuses but big players have been missing for too long.

“You can see what Jelavic brings to the team, we’ve been without him for six months, we’ve been without Diame for six months, Dawson for four and a half months.

“Too often we’ve got big players out who we’ve paid big money for and there is the problem. Over a period of the season we’ve not been able to cope with the loss of the big players.”

Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland may yet have to rely on a defeat for Hull by United to get the job done. However, the Black Cats know a maximum of one point from Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal and Sunday’s visit to Chelsea will see the club clinch its own safety.

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