Alan Pardew has put Newcastle United's indifferent form this season down to "misfortune", with the manager insistent that his team should be praised for avoiding relegation from the Premier League.
Newcastle's safety was secured on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Queens Park Rangers. There have been rumblings of discontent around St James' Park, though, that Pardew's men ended up in a fight for survival at all.
The manager believes special circumstances contributed to that scenario. "Our season has been difficult, but we have come through it," Pardew said.
"I don't care what anybody says, getting over the line with some of the misfortune we have had is an achievement.
"We have had three cruciate injuries and no other club has had that. We missed key players at QPR – Sissoko, Shola Ameobi, Tim Krul and Davide Santon.
"All year we have had that, but we still got over the line. That is the main thing."
Pardew's position is not believed to be under threat but the 51-year-old will hold scheduled talks with the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley next week. Recruitment plans for next season will feature prominently on the agenda as will the futures of existing Newcastle players; Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Fabricio Coloccini have all been heavily linked with moves away from the north-east.
Before his meeting with Ashley, Pardew takes Newcastle into their final game of the season, against Arsenal. Pardew has backpedalled after claiming that he would not care if Newcastle lost that game 4-0.
"Our fans can turn up and enjoy it," Pardew added. "I hope they come in fancy dress and enjoy it. Regardless of the score, thank God we are here next year in the greatest league in the world.
"I know people will have picked up on my comments about not caring about the result against Arsenal, which were, of course, meant as a joke."