independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Pardew in optimistic mood

Alan Pardew is thinking positive ahead of the trip to Tottenham

Alan Pardew will take Newcastle to Tottenham on Sunday preaching optimism after the latest twist in a topsy-turvy season.

The 52-year-old and his players dispelled some of the clouds hanging over St James' Park in the wake of a derby defeat by Sunderland and a Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City with a surprise Barclays Premier League win over title contenders Chelsea last weekend.

That left Newcastle sitting in ninth place in the table ahead of Sunday's difficult trip to White Hart Lane, five points adrift of the top six and six clear of the drop zone, and with their fans not quite sure how to assess the season to date.

However, Pardew, who was once again linked with the vacant manager's job at former club Crystal Palace on Friday, is confident progress has been made and, with successive home games against Norwich and West Brom to come after the international break, is convinced there is more to come.

He said: "There are a lot of clubs who would envy our position as we sit here today and we have to always think that our glass is half-full rather than half-empty, which I think sometimes we do up here.

"I think we are in better shape than we have been given credit for. But this week, I have seen a lot more positive press about our players, who have been terrific. We have had some great performances.

"This is the end of a difficult period, in my view, of games for us because then we have got two home games and it could put us in a great position if we get a win against Spurs, or a draw even, so it's an important game for our league position."

Pardew got his tactics just right against misfiring Chelsea as the Magpies initially contained the visitors before launching a second-half assault which eventually saw goals from Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy clinch victory.

He said: "I've gone one better than Arsene Wenger, haven't I? That's something."

However, Pardew is well aware that last weekend's heroics will be largely irrelevant at White Hart Lane, where Newcastle have struggled in recent seasons.

They have lost on their last four league visits and scored only one goal in the process, and they last won in that particular corner of north London in March 2008 when goals from Nicky Butt, Geremi, Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins overturned an early deficit secured by Darren Bent's strike.

Asked if the Chelsea win would count for anything on Sunday, Pardew said: "No, it doesn't, unfortunately.

"Again, we are going up against a very accomplished manager and a very, very strong team at a venue where we haven't had good results, so therefore it's something we want to put right."

The fact that Gareth Bale will no longer be able to terrorise the Magpies - he scored both goals in a 2-1 win last season, 12 months after playing his part in a 5-0 rout - may come as some comfort, but Pardew is acutely aware that the proceeds of the Wales international's £85million switch to Real Madrid have been invested astutely in the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen.

Newcastle themselves faced a similar decision when Liverpool came calling with a cheque for £35million in exchange for striker Andy Carroll and Pardew believes what the two clubs have done with their respective windfalls is proof that the loss of a key player is not necessarily a disaster.

He said: "We have used the Andy Carroll money - not, obviously, as much as Bale - to good effect, and they have done exactly the same.

"They will be hoping for a similar reward from their guys. It's early days at the moment, but it's so far, so good for them."

Pardew will have skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who has missed the last four games with a groin injury, and midfielder Cheick Tiote, who has shaken off a muscle strain, available, but central defender Steven Taylor will miss out once again with a hamstring problem.

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