Newcastle meet West Brom at The Hawthorns tomorrow, and a win in that game could see Newcastle move to 5th place in the Premier League.
Alan Pardew – tries to focus his players
A 5th place in the league is important of course because it absolutely guarantees a Europa League position.
With Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City last week, Newcastle have gained 3 points on the London side in the last round of games, and could even overtake them this weekend.
Alan considers the final 6 games of the season to be the real run-in, and he is keen to pick up as many points as possible in the three games before that – at West Brom, at home to Liverpool and at Swansea on the road.
Those are all tough games and Pardew explained his focus:
“My focus is to ensure the players are focused because we still have three games in what I call the tunnel,”
“Before we get to the last six games you can see the finishing line, you can see a goal, you can see a European place or safety or survival. In this period of games, as a manager I really have to focus my team.
“If we can get one win and something from the other two, or get a couple of wins, we are really well set for the last six. If we do it and qualify for Europe, it’s not just a great reward for the players but it will help attract players.”
Those are the tough games coming up, but of course those are also the games that Newcastle have to do well in, to ensure a high position in the league come mid-May.
Alan explains that last season the targets set by the club were not too high in our first season back, but things are starting to ramp up:
“Last summer was a rebuild job,” “We did not make the mistake of setting our ambitions or goals too high. I think players look at you and if they raise their eyebrow, you might be lying to them for the rest of the season.”
“So we were very realistic in our talks about our aims” “We said we were going to attack the top ten and hopefully get a top-ten finish. With nine games to go we have 47 points, one more than last year which would have given us a top-ten finish.”
“So the players have stepped up to the plate and now it is a question of where are we going to finish.” “We are not looking at Liverpool, we are focusing more on the gap between us and Chelsea.”
“What has been a success for us has been focusing on the next game and the next game is a tough one, a really tough one, West Bromwich Albion away on a Sunday afternoon. Our focus is on that.”
“When I look at their squad, they are very definitely a top-eight or nine team, You have got to have a little bit of luck with injury but when they have all their best players available, which they will have against us, they are a very strong side.”
It’s a tough game tomorrow, and we hope that Newcastle can play somehow near their best form.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and how Newcastle do in these last 9 games of the season will decide where we finish in the league table.
If Newcastle finish high enough in the league to qualify for the Europa league that would be just fantastic.
And in that case we would expect Newcastle would bring in even more players over the summer months, to both strengthen and increase the size of the squad.
It all sounds very good to us.