Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has denied newspaper claims that manager Alan Pardew will be sacked if the team lose at Stoke on Monday.
Ashley’s lawyer issued a statement insisting comments from the Newcastle owner had been taken out of context by The Independent.
Speculation over Pardew’s future at Newcastle has been rife as the team sits at the bottom of the Premier League table without a win in their opening five matches.
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And the newspaper ran the story on Saturday after Ashley told one of its reporters: "(Pardew's) got one more game. If we lose against Stoke on Monday night, then he's gone. I have had enough.
"Dead. Finished. Over. One more game, then that's it."
According to the newspaper, which said the discussion was held outside a London pub, Ashley added: "That's all I'm prepared to say about it and now that I've said it, it's out there. You can do what you want with it. There's only so much I can take."
The same report quoted a lawyer for Ashley, who said the billionaire owner of a chain of retail sports stores was humouring the reporter. Ashley has rarely discussed Newcastle affairs in public during his tenure.
"Mr Ashley responded, tongue in cheek, that Mr Pardew had two more games before being sacked," the lawyer was reported as saying.
"To put this into perspective, over the past few weeks certain reporters have stated that they believe that Mr Pardew has two more games before being sacked.
Sometimes things are taken out of context. If it was a sit-down interview done in a serious manner, I'd be a lot more concerned than I am today, that's for sure.
“Mr Ashley was therefore 'humouring' your reporter."
Pardew is currently two years into an eight-year contract extension at St James' Park and he was not concerned by the story.
Pardew said: "I've not seen him. [Ashley]. I've spoken to him this week - he's obviously very keen for us to get victories, that's what he's about. That's what we're about, winning.
"I've been made aware of his comments in the paper, I've been under pressure at this club for a number of weeks now. All I can focus on now is the team and that's what I'll do."
Asked if his future was more than a joke, Pardew replied: "Yeah, but sometimes things are taken out of context. If it was a sit-down interview done in a serious manner, I'd be a lot more concerned than I am today, that's for sure."
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