In one of Newcastle’s best displays of the season last night, and in a game that really mattered, Newcastle were just far too good for a woeful West Ham side.
Alan Pardew – goo start to Newcastle career
And from comments from Alan and the players yesterday, we knew that they knew this was a vital game, and one we had to win if indeed we can stave off relegation this season – which is still the number one priority.
This is what Alan said after the game:
“We started really fast and the midfield really got a grip in that first period.”
“And West Ham were having problems containing our movement and our delivery.”
“Joey Barton in particular was outstanding in that spell.”
Of course with displays like this Newcastle fans start to wonder just how good this Newcastle side is, with Barton, Carroll, Nolan, Enrique and Tiote, amongst others, being outstanding for most of the season.
We have no idea, but one thing we do know is that Alan must get the lads to play consistently good football, and there are definite signs that may be happening.
And on the club’s ambitions for the season, Pardew continued:
“It’s not shifted at the moment because I’ve got about nine people in that injury room tonight.”
“We’ve finished with ten men because Cheick Tiote had a hamstring injury and Taylor had a hamstring injury.”
“Jonas Gutierrez got a bang in the first half and Leon Best got injured as well towards the end of the game. That leaves us desperately short.”
“We’ve got a great opportunity because we’ve got a good points total to attack the FA Cup.”
“It just worries me that the squad isn’t that big and that’s going to be a really tough game for us.”
“The program that we’ve had has been tough. The Man City and Spurs games really took a lot out of us.”
“As we sit here tonight I’m really pleased with the points and a great performance.”
But the former West Ham manager, who was ruthlessly sacked at Upton Park back in December of 2006, had a little sympathy for his former club, as he continued:
“You have sympathy for professional staff there that I know very well. They’ll be hurting tonight.”
“It’s not about tonight for them, it’s about the next game. And Avram Grant and that team will have to repair the damage quickly to get the next result.”
“That’s what it’s about, football, not anything else, just the next game.”
By the way that’s Newcastle first double of the season, having also beaten West Ham 2-1 at Upton Park.
It’s far too early to be talking about getting into Europe, because we are still just 7 points above the drop zone, with Wolves, Fulham and Birmingham all winning this week.
That still has to be number one priority, but if Alan can introduce some stability into the side, and increase the quality of the squad in January, and we remain competitive against the lesser sides in the league, then we could do quite well over the remainder of the season.
There are a lot of ifs and buts in there – but we cannot get ahead of ourselves.