Miracle worker Tony Pulis shuns saviour tag John Carver craves

Newcastle 1 West Brom 1: Not only does Tony Pulis perform miracles, he also predicts them. How else to explain his assertion that John Carver will still be in charge at Newcastle when the new season starts in August?

Miracle worker Tony Pulis shuns saviour tag John Carver craves

The West Brom head coach will soon be part of a team rowing across the English Channel to raise money for charity. This wasn’t so much him sticking his oar in, more offering some much-needed support for a beleaguered counterpart.

John Carver has won twice in a turgid 18-game caretaker reign, and appears certain to see his turbulent temporary reign end after the final day visit by West Ham.

Pulis, who hasn’t got much wrong since arriving at the Hawthorns in January, begs to differ.

He said: “I don’t think there’ll be any change at Newcastle.”

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SIZE MATTERS? Despite John Carver’s size worries, WBA have conceded more goals from setpieces this season (20) than any other Premier League side.

After clinching the point to ensure his side are mathematically safe from relegation, he added: “John would have a better idea than me because he’s spoken to Mike Ashley, but Mike is very loyal to the people he appoints.

“I don’t know the politics around the place, but the one thing he has done is to stick with his managers.”

Pulis was strongly linked with the job at St James’ Park following the departure of Alan Pardew, but opted to return to management with the Baggies, leading them to an impressive 24 points from 17 games, which sees them safe with two matches to spare.

“It’s nice to be safe, because it’s been stressful at times,” the 57-year-old said. “But I’m trying to get away from that reputation of being a relegation saviour.”

Saviour may be a tag Carver yet avoids. For nine minutes mid-game, Newcastle were in the bottom three. However, results combined to see them finish the day two points above Hull, who occupy the final relegation place with two games remaining, although they will have to wait a little longer before being able to plan for another season of top-flight football.

Pulis added: “Newcastle is a wonderful club. The support is absolutely fantastic and the bottom line is that they want a winning team. It needs to get back to being an enormous club. The only way to do that is to put a team on the pitch which can compete with other enormous clubs.”

Compete is exactly what Newcastle did here, unlike they have in many of their eight consecutive defeats before this game. A neat finish from Ayoze Perez cancelled out Victor Anichebe’s header.

The hosts enjoyed territorial superiority, but Albion created the best chances, and struck the frame of the goal in each half, through Craig Dawson and substitute Saido Berahino, who also had a late chance well saved by Tim Krul.

The usually verbose Carver was rather more reticent to speak afterwards, given his unhappiness at the way his comment about being the best coach in the Premier League had been blown out of proportion.

But he did admit to a sigh of relief after fearing the worst as the players lined up in the tunnel before kick-off.

He said: “It was probably the worst game we could have had following last week because I looked at the two sides in the tunnel and it was like Land of the Giants.

“They were all 6’4” centre-halves at the back, we had 5’7“ jockeys, and that’s something we have got to look at because set-plays are important.”

Asked if it was his most important goal to date for the club, Spaniard Perez said: “Yes, undoubtedly. We had a really bad start to the game and therefore the goal made up for it. It’s one more goal under my belt, so it was very important.”

NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1):

Krul 7; Anita 8 (Abeid 90, 6), Coloccini 7, Dummett 7, Gutierrez 6; R Taylor 6, Colback 7; Perez 7 (Ameobi 85, 6), Sissoko 7, Cabella 7; Riviere 6 (Cisse 69, 6).

WBA (4-5-1):

Myhill 7; Dawson 6, Olsson 7, McAuley 7, Lescott 6; Gardner 6 (Berahino 69, 7), Mulumbu 6 (Morrison 55, 6), Jacob 6, Fletcher 7, Brunt 7; Anichebe 8 (McManaman 78, 6).

Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens) 7

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