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Newcastle make stance clear: Hughton stays
Published : 28 Oct 2010 08:29:29Rss feed
CHRIS Hughton last night attempted to draw a line under mounting speculation over his future after Newcastle United officials were forced to issue a formal statement dismissing suggestions his job was in peril. While the Magpies crashed out of the Carling Cup with a 4-0 home defeat to Arsenal, attention quickly switched to off-field affairs following a day of mounting rumours and uncertainty on Tyneside. Hughton's position was called into question in the wake of this month's 2-2 draw at home to Wigan, but the speculation increased markedly yesterday afternoon. Most leading bookmakers reported a flurry of bets on the Newcastle boss being the next Premier League manager to leave his post, and Hughton is understood to have watched Sky Sports reporters questioning his longevity when he ate a prematch meal with his players ahead of yesterday's game. He cancelled a scheduled radio appearance in the buildup to kick off, but shortly after referee Andre Marriner blew the final whistle on Newcastle's Carling Cup exit, club officials released a statement confirming his position remained unchanged. The statement said: Chris is our manager and will remain our manager, and it is our intention to renegotiate his contract at the end of the year. Hughton's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but the boss is hoping last night's events will prevent the recent uncertainty getting out of hand. There's nothing different, he said. I have a remit, as I had last season, which is to do the best job I can for the club. We were able to get the team back in the Premier League last season, and I have a remit to keep it in the division this season. The league table at the moment shows we are doing okay. Nothing is different from yesterday, or the day before that. We are focused on getting the best results we can and getting some stability back to this football club. I presume the reason it (the statement) was said is because of the unjust speculation that's been flying around in the last few days. Privately, the Newcastle board have consistently claimed that contract discussions will be initiated at the start of next year, and while Hughton insists the recent speculation has not affected his ability to manage, he admits it would be nice to operate in an environment bereft of potentially damaging rumours. One thing all of this doesn't do is deter me from the job that I'm doing, said Hughton. Is it a help Of course it's not. Is it something I welcome Of course it's not. But it doesn't take my focus off the big job I'm employed to do. Having pulled off a shock win at Chelsea in the previous round, Newcastle's Carling Cup campaign came to a shuddering halt as Theo Walcott's double, allied to an own goal from Tim Krul and a fine finish from Nicklas Bendtner, smoothed Arsenal's passage to the quarter-finals. Luck was hardly on the Magpies' side, however, as the ball rebounded off a helpless Krul to break the deadlock, before referee Andre Marriner ignored a blatant foul by Bendtner in the build up to Walcott's opening goal. I thought the result was harsh, said Hughton. We were playing against a topclass side in Arsenal, but I thought in the first half we played a system that contained them so they had minimal chances. But we couldn't afford to concede when we did in the first half, just before halftime. That enabled them to come out in the second half in the ascendancy. But I thought the second goal was offside and there was most definitely some interference on Mike Williamson. Once that went in, we had to come out more and that left us more open, but it was an unjust decision. It was a goal that didn't owe anything to any of our players.