Andy Carroll insists Newcastle United were on the right track to challenge at the top of Barclays Premier League before Chris Hughton was sacked as manager this week.
As new boss Alan Pardew fights to convince players and fans alike that he is the right man for St James' Park, it has emerged that the club's star striker warned it would be 'stupid' to change managers.
Pardew insists he will keep Carroll at the club despite interest headed by Chelsea, but is well awared of the dressing room loyalty felt towards his departed predecessor.
Speaking to weekly magazine Sport days before Hughton's dismissal, Carroll said: 'I don't really know why there is any speculation about his future because he got us straight back in the Premier League and has done a great job. It's stupid.'
Thriving: Carroll is Newcastle's top scorer this season
Asked if the club needed a change of owners to mix it with the Premier League big boys, he said: 'If we keep going the way we are going now, it won't be long.
'We're doing well, we've got the right players, everyone is together and everone knows where we want to be, which is right back up there.
Champions: Hughton lifts the trophy after winning the Championship with Newcastle last season
'We don't need a righ foreign owner. If we just keep working hard and sticking together through everything, then we'll get there.
'With the season we had last year, where everyone did so well, we knew that if we stuck together, then we could do the same this season.
'Obviously it's a big step up, but we knew it wouldn't be as hard as people thought.'
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