Pardew ready to make tough calls
Published 16/08/2014 | 14:40
Alan Pardew has insisted he will not shy away from the tough decisions as he attempts to bring tangible success to Newcastle.
The 53-year-old manager ended last season firmly in the firing line when he was booed by his own fans at St James' Park with the campaign drawing to a disappointing conclusion.
It was he who bore the brunt of the criticism after Yohan Cabaye's January exit for Paris St Germain prompted an alarming slump in form, and his cause was not helped by his own disciplinary problems after he head-butted Hull midfielder David Meyler.
A summer spending spree, which has seen owner Mike Ashley sanction the acquisition of nine new arrivals to date, has helped to dilute some of the ire on Tyneside, but Pardew will return to the dug-out for the visit of champions Manchester City on Sunday with bridges still to be built.
However, asked if he feels he has been given a second chance by supporters, he said: "I've been here long enough not to have to play politics with the fans.
"I think they know I'm an honest person, I think they know that I work hard, because I do, to try to achieve success at this club.
"I'm going to stay and bring that honesty onto the pitch. I have to make tough decisions at this club. I'll make the ones I think are right to take this club as close as we can to winning something or to get us as close as we can to the Champions League or even into the Champions League at some stage.
"I need to grow the team and build it as I go. At the back end of last season, I felt the team was nowhere near that.
"We had to improve it and we have. Now I've got to make sure that's replicated in results."
Pardew will be without midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote and summer signing Siem De Jong through injury, but with Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere, Facundo Ferreyra and Ayoze Perez also on board, he believes he has a strong hand.
He said: "I've nothing to moan about now in terms of what's happened this summer. We have got a strong squad, perhaps the biggest and best I've ever had in terms of options, so we are in a great position."
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero (groin) has not been ruled of Sunday's Barclays Premier League opener at Newcastle but new signing Eliaquim Mangala will not feature.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has warned Newcastle that the champions intend to hit the ground running this season.
In both their Barclays Premier League title successes of 2012 and 2014 City needed to wait until the final day of the campaign to secure the crown.
Last year their away form in the early part of the season proved problematic as they lost four of their first six games on the road.
Pellegrini put that down to the players' lack of familiarity with his attacking philosophy but he is confident of avoiding a repeat as the title defence begins at St James' Park on Sunday.
The Chilean said: "We must improve the first part of the season last year - it was very bad, especially playing away. I hope it will not be so bad.
"We had so many good things last year but that maybe is one of them we will not repeat.
"We were starting the season with a new style of playing. Maybe people didn't believe we could continue playing that same way but one of the most important things when we won the title was that we continued playing that way.
"This year we know how to do it and we have new players that must understand the way we want to play."