Newcastle ask Graeme Jones to oversee two games as they hunt for manager
- Jones told he will oversee Crystal Palace and Chelsea matches
- Talks held with Paulo Fonseca but others under consideration
Newcastle have asked Graeme Jones to take charge of the team for the next two games as the owners continue discussions over who should replace Steve Bruce as manager.
Advanced talks have been held with the former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Paulo Fonseca but other candidates are under consideration, including Roberto Martínez, Frank Lampard, Lucien Favre, Steven Gerrard and Eddie Howe.
Jones, promoted from assistant, talked on Friday of the need to suppress emotions and focus firmly on football as he looked forward to his first match in temporary charge, at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“I spoke to the owners on Wednesday morning and was told I’m taking the team on an interim basis for the next two games – Palace and Chelsea at home – and I’m fully focused on preparing the team as best we can to be competitive.”
Jones admitted to being “upset” after the departure of Bruce, with whom he said he had enjoyed a relationship “excellent in every aspect”, and the Gateshead-born 51-year-old briefly recited his long connection with the club he started supporting aged four. He compared the mood since the Saudi takeover to the excitement generated by Kevin Keegan’s arrival in 1982 and revealed he would remain at Newcastle in some capacity.
“I’ve had assurances on my long-term future,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Mehrdad [Ghodoussi] and Amanda [Staveley] about the long term. My short-term process is only about what I can affect, which is tomorrow and next Saturday … I’m motivated in a completely different way than anywhere else I’ve been because I came to this club as a four-year-old with my father watching Super Mac [Malcolm Macdonald] play in 1974-75. Then I was a supporter in the Gallowgate End through the Kevin Keegan era. I know the culture of this football club and whether I was here or I wasn’t, I would only ever be interested in their results. So my focus is on doing the best I can and making sure everyone else does the best they can.”
Jones said “the biggest thing [Keegan] transmitted to the club was hope. And now that’s back again. The future of the club looks rosy.”
He claimed only “small margins” had stopped Newcastle from winning in the Premier League and suggested the team were well prepared to get off the mark against Palace. “I like the way the boys have trained,” he said. “They took on board our work. I think players gain confidence from details sometimes. They’re very clear what is expected and what their roles are.”