Monday, January 14, 2013
Alan Pardew admitted he is facing one of the toughest tests of his managerial career after Newcastle ground out a Premier League point at Carrow Road.
The Magpies’ boss was feted by his peers last season for guiding United into Europe with an attractive brand of attacking football spearheaded by potent striker Demba Ba.
The Sengelese forward’s Chelsea exit earlier this month allied to a crippling injury crisis has tested Pardew to the limit, but the former West Ham boss detected signs of a renewal with some of his biggest hitters back at Norwich.
“To some extent I have probably had to work twice as hard this year for a lot less reward,” he said. “I have had situations, not quite as bad as this, in terms of injuries or a player with clauses like Demba had so it has been a strange year really. All I can do is put my team out and give an honest performance that the Newcastle fans are proud of.
“Last week we were just not strong enough. We paid back a little bit of the debt we owed to our fans who travelled to Brighton and hopefully that will continue for the second half of the season.
“Does the league position worry me? Yeah, of course it does. We don’t want to be down there but that is where we are. We have to face that reality but today as Newcastle manager I am putting quality players on the pitch, whereas in the last two or three weeks I have had young players and perhaps too many of them in the team. It was nice to see (Yohan) Cabaye and (Jonas) Gutierrez and Papiss (Cisse) out there. It was a real solid performance from us away from home and we looked a little bit more like us from last year, which bodes well.”
The return of key midfielder Cabaye was the biggest bonus for Pardew after a long term groin injury. The French international made a second half entrance at Carrow Road and Pardew confirmed he will start the forthcoming crucial league battle against relegation rivals Reading.
“For us the most important thing is momentum and we have Reading at home and Aston Villa away so I felt this was an important game for us, a key game,” he said.
“Cabaye was a massive lift for us. Regardless of what was going on in the game he was going to get 20 minutes because he needed that and he will start for us next week. Hopefully the next couple of weeks we can recruit one or two because we definitely need to be stronger for the second half of the season.”