- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) - Two Newcastle coaches apologized Thursday for clashes with fans before and after last weekend’s 4-0 loss to Southampton in the Premier League, adding another chapter to the last-place club’s miserable start to the season.

Assistant manager John Carver said he “responded inappropriately” when confronted by a Newcastle supporter before Saturday’s match at St. Mary’s Stadium.

Carver said the incident occurred after asking fans to remove banners that called for the firing of the club’s under-pressure manager, Alan Pardew, and “that could, in my opinion, distract the players and take focus away from the job in hand.”

In the same Newcastle statement, goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman said he was sorry for posting an “ill-advised comment” to a Newcastle fan on Tiwtter on the morning after the match.

Newcastle said the club received complaints about the coaches’ conduct and has dealt with the matter internally.

Pardew is facing increasing calls to quit, with his team bottom of the standings with two points from four games - continuing a poor run of form hanging over from last season.

Pardew, who signed an eight-year deal in September 2012, said he held a “long conversation” with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley after the Southampton match and is expecting the atmosphere for the home game against Hull on Saturday to “probably be as tough as it’s ever been.”

“Certain issues, particularly the issue regarding me, have to somewhat take a bit of a back seat for the team because it’s going to be a very difficult environment,” Pardew said. “Of course he (Ashley) was upset about the performance and really we focused on that, and I never asked for any reassurance.”

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