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30 stats for Messi's 30th birthday

Barcelona
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Pardew pulls plug on Christmas party

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has confirmed that the club have cancelled their annual Christmas party out of respect to the club's fans.

• Par humbug - Christmas cancelled
• Ba sends out Arsenal signal

The Magpies find themselves just two points above the relegation zone in 15th position after a 3-1 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday.

It is a concerning slump for a side that finished fifth last season with Pardew eager to redress the club's poor form.

Consequently, the Newcastle boss has put a hold on any potential festivities in a bid to give his squad extra focus on the job at hand.

"It's out of respect to our fans, and what we've served them this year," Pardew told the Evening Chronicle. "There's no party for us, and the same for the staff. That's how it should be."

Despite the recent problems on the pitch, Pardew is keen to stress he has a united group that are giving it their all to try and turn around the club's fortunes.

"Trust me, there have been horrible things said about our group and our staff, but we're together," he said. "And we're 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've not done enough this year. That's why I think it's right we called it off."

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