London – Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew will seek “management counselling” as he starts his Premier League-record seven-game ban for headbutting an opposition player.
Pardew is barred from the stadium for the next three fixtures, starting with Saturday's trip to Fulham, and will then serve a four-game touchline ban as punishment for his clash with Hull City's David Meyler.
Speaking in public for the first time since the punishment was handed down by the Football Association, Pardew revealed that he had sent a letter of apology to Meyler over the incident, which occurred during Newcastle's 4-1 win at the KC Stadium earlier this month.
Pardew was also fined £60,000 ($100,000, 72,000 euros) by the FA, in addition to a £100,000 fine from his club and, having previously fallen foul of the authorities for similar offences, he is determined to change his ways.
“Everyone makes mistakes, it's just that mine was played out before millions of people on TV,” he said.
“I've spoken to a few chief executive officers at various firms who themselves have management counselling in terms of how they do their job better and I think that's an avenue that might work for me.
“I've spoken to Richard Bevan (chief of the League Managers' Association), who has been a great help in terms of finding someone who is going to work for me, someone I can just bounce ideas off.
“That's not just necessarily about what happens on the touchline, but with the pressures of the job I'm under.
“The big question for me when this incident happened is, 'How am I going to be a better manager out of it?' I don't want to lose that drive and passion that I have, but I want to channel it a bit better.
“It may be that it's someone from outside football who comes in, someone with a business background and therefore with a different perspective.”
Pardew will follow this weekend's game at Craven Cottage from a nearby London hotel, with a member of the club's team of analysts on hand to provide instant-feedback data.
Newcastle have won four of their last five league games in London, but their preparations have been hampered by injuries to influential French duo Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy.
Remy, their 13-goal top scorer, will miss at least three matches with a calf strain, while right back Debuchy is set to be out for at least four games with a groin problem.
Fellow-Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa is also unavailable after missing training due to a family issue.
Newcastle retain outside hopes of securing a Europa League spot in May, and Pardew added: “We've lost Loic, we think, for three games and Debuchy for maybe even longer than that, so we will have to make changes.”
Fulham's plight is increasingly desperate, with the club rooted to the foot of the table, four points adrift of safety and with just nine games to turn things around.
The arrival of Felix Magath, their third manager of the season, has not acted as the catalyst for an immediate upturn in form, but centre back Brede Hangeland insists Fulham can stay up.
“Home games are going to be vital, but every game is going to be vital, and we're looking first and foremost to Newcastle on Saturday and looking to take three points from that,” he said.
“It's a very tough time for everyone at the club, there's no hiding from that. We just need to win games as soon as possible and Newcastle is a chance to do that.
“It's one we're looking forward to and we need the three points. That's the story.” – Sapa-AFP