Newcastle cancel Christmas party
Newcastle have cancelled their Christmas party as they attempt to end a dreadful run of results.
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The Magpies' 3-1 home defeat by champions Manchester City at the weekend was their sixth in seven Barclays Premier League outings, and they head into Saturday's clash with QPR in desperate need of three points.
As a result, the players' customary celebration - they have travelled to Dublin and Glasgow as a group in recent years - has been called off.
Manager Alan Pardew told the Evening Chronicle: "It's out of respect to our fans and what we have served them this year. There's no party for us, and the same for the staff. That's how it should be.
"Trust me, there have been horrible things said about our group and our staff, but we are together, and we are fighting and trying to put it right.
"The fans have to realise this isn't just a game to us, it's our livelihoods and our profession. It pays our bills.
"Not only that, we have to have a certain pressure of entertaining our fans, who pay good money to come and watch.
"Looking at all those factors, we have not done enough this year. That's why I think it's right we called it off."
However, the spirited fightback they produced against City, coupled with improved displays during the weeks immediately beforehand, has given them hope that they are about to turn the corner.
Nevertheless, QPR's visit to Tyneside is a must-win affair if they are to establish the kind of momentum for the second half of the campaign which provided the platform for their fifth-place finish last season.
The Magpies will head into the game with key midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa facing the next few weeks on the sidelines after aggravating a hamstring problem during the 2-1 defeat at Fulham last Monday.