Alan Pardew has again talked today about wanting Newcastle fans to be realistic about next season.
Alan Pardew with his captain Fab Coloccini
The expectations could well be far too high, for a team that way out-performed expectations last season, and finished 5th in the Premier League.
But Alan has looked at how cubs have done in the league when they also have also been in the Europa League, and he points to Stoke last season, and Fulham in the previous season.
Their European competition seemed to impact their league program, and both clubs had disappointing results in the Premier League.
This is what Alan said to the local Newcastle press today:
“We have to get the balance right.” “We want to be strong in the Premier League and look at our European campaign.”
“If you look at it, nobody who has played in the Europa League has been able to manage to do well in both.”
“Stoke found that out last season and Fulham the season before, ending up with a poor finish.” “I think it is going to be tougher for us.”
“Last season we fought against the odds and got some great results.” “We beat Chelsea, Manchester United, drew with Spurs and were very unlucky in both games against Arsenal.”
“Next season will be very competitive again and we have a European program too.” “The top six would still be a great achievement for us and we’ve got the cup competitions as well.”
“Our fans have to be realistic, we don’t want the Europa League to cost us with our Premier League position.” “But we’re looking forward to taking them into Europe.”
Newcastle have operated over the last three years - since relegation - with a paper-thin squad, and the summer seems a good time to both increase the size of the squad, as well as the quality of it.
And Newcastle seem to be doing that with players like Alan Smith, Peter Lovenkrands and Danny Guthrie already being off-loaded this summer, and Leon Best likely to follow them.
Newcastle will learn who they will meet in the Europa League on August 10th, and they will need to take part in the final play-off round.
A win over the two legs of that tie, will ensure that we are part of a four team group, and the group games will take place from September 20th through December 6th.
So we have to ensure we win that play-off tie, whichever club Newcastle are drawn against.
Newcastle have brought in 22 year-old midfielder Romain Amalfitano from Reims so far this summer, but are expected to bring in two top defenders, and another striker, as well as a good number of top young players, to fill out the Development squad.
But players may not start arriving until after the Euro 2012 Championships, which begin tomorrow and run until the final is played at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, on July 1st.
It could well be an England vs France final.
OK – I’m just kidding – kind of.