Alan Pardew has insisted Newcastle will be going all out for victory in the final game of the season against Arsenal.
Fans have voiced their dismay over Pardew's comment in the wake of Sunday's 2-1 win at QPR, which secured the club's Barclays Premier League status, that he did not care if they lost 4-0 to the Gunners at St James' Park on Sunday. However, the 51-year-old has moved to assure them he was joking and that nothing could be further from the truth.
Pardew told the club's official website: "I know people will have picked up on my comments about not caring about the result against Arsenal, which were, of course, a joke. It is definitely not the case that I would be happy for us to lose 4-0 against Arsenal on Sunday. I simply want our players and fans to be able to enjoy the game without looking over their shoulders."
He added: "Even though we are now safe, we will be putting in the same effort that we would for any other Premier League game.
"Our last two results at St James' Park - against Sunderland and Liverpool - have been nowhere near good enough, and Sunday gives us the chance to put that right.
"We want to end the season on a positive, to finish in as high a position as possible and to give the fans something to cheer about on the final day of what has been a frustrating season.
"Arsenal will be doing everything they can to try to achieve a Champions League spot and we won't make it easy for them, make no mistake about that.
"This is a game everyone at this football club wants to win."
The Magpies' last two home games have been nothing short of dismal - arch-rivals Sunderland left with a 3-0 victory on April 14 and Liverpool ran out 6-0 winners a fortnight later with Pardew's team in utter disarray.
However, a hard-fought draw at West Ham and the 2-1 win at Loftus Road on Sunday steadied the ship and ensured they will be playing top-flight football again next season.