Thursday 22 March 2018

Pardew keeps his feet on the ground

Alan Pardew's Newcastle have won three league games in a row
Alan Pardew's Newcastle have won three league games in a row

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew insists he will not allow his players to be carried away after seeing them beat Norwich 2-1 to secure a third successive Barclays Premier League victory.

The Magpies climbed to within two points of the Champions League places on Saturday evening courtesy of the win at St James' Park.

However, despite seeing off Chelsea, Tottenham and the Canaries, Pardew is refusing to consider his side as contenders for Europe's biggest stage.

He said: "I keep criticising the press locally here in that when we win, we are a European team or whatever, and then when we lose, it's the end of the world.

"It's just really truly about winning games, keeping our feet on the ground and seeing where we go. What we have got, though, is a really good group who were really committed to win today.

"The only agenda I have set them, really and truly, was to win, there was no other agenda because this game is an easy game to lose today.

"You win against Chelsea, you go to Spurs and then Norwich turn up and you lose, and we have sort of buried that a little bit, and I am really, really pleased.

"I am as pleased tonight as I was when we won at Spurs. I might not look it, but I am."

Newcastle raced into a commanding lead with Loic Remy heading them in front with just two minutes gone - it was the club's first goal from a corner since October 2011 - and Yoan Gouffran adding a second seven minutes before the break.

But they failed to kill the game off and when Leroy Fer powered an 80th-minute header past Tim Krul amid a late flurry, nerves were jangling at St James' Park.

However, Pardew's men held out to claim the points despite the midweek World Cup exploits of the likes of Cabaye, Remy and Cheick Tiote taking their toll.

He said: "We talked about that after and said we looked a little bit tired in the second half. Some of our players have travelled around.

"When you are 2-0 up at half-time, you kind of start leaning on that a little bit as well.

"But Norwich did well in the second half. I don't want to take anything away from Norwich. I thought they applied themselves well."

For City manager Chris Hughton, it proved a frustrating afternoon as his players simply gave themselves too much to do.

Hughton said: "Particularly here with, of course, Newcastle being on the back of a couple of wins, you can't afford to be 2-0 down at half-time, and certainly not 1-0 down in the first few minutes.

"That's where we made life too difficult for ourselves.

"Amongst that, we had some good periods in that first half and managed to create some chances, and of course rallied very well in the second half and made a really good go of it.

"But ultimately the goals we conceded in that first half are what did us today."

Hughton's mood was not improved by the sight of midfielder Anthony Pilkington leaving the field on a stretcher with a hamstring injury.

He said: "He felt his hamstring. How bad, we won't obviously know until the next few days."

Meanwhile, Pardew admitted he was unaware of reports from Argentina suggesting that skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who returned to the side after a five-game injury lay-off against Norwich, will once again request a move back to South America when the January transfer window opens.

He said: "I wasn't aware of that, if I am honest. But it's difficult when players go home and they are interviewed. You never know if there is any truth in it.

"I haven't spoken to Colo about that."

Press Association

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