Newcastle boss Alan Pardew aims to lay down a marker after Norwich City win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew viewed victory over Norwich City as a signal of his side's Premier League ambitions.
Pardew had challenged his squad not to let their standards slip after impressive top flight wins over both Chelsea and Tottenham prior to the international break. Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran's first half strikes maintained the Magpies' upward trajectory, but Pardew was keen to inject a note of realism.
'I keep criticising the press here locally because when we win a game we are a European team and then when we lose it is the end of the world,' he said. 'Truly, it is just about winning games and keeping our feet on the ground and seeing where that takes us.
'What we have got is a really good group who are committed, and the only agenda I set them was to win here because this game is an easy one to lose. You win against Chelsea, you go to Spurs and then Norwich turn up and you lose. We have buried that a little bit and I am as pleased now as when we beat Spurs. Perhaps I don't look it but I am. That is a third win on the trot and a big, big win. This was as important as beating Chelsea and Spurs. We had been reminding the players about certain times in the past where we have slipped up and lost our way but we look really solid.'
Leroy Fer's 80th minute header set up a tense finale with Pardew sensing the exertions of the international fortnight may have caught up with many of his stars.
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'We talked about that afterwards. I thought we looked a little tired in the second half with the lads who had been away on international duty and all the travelling,' he said. 'When you are 2-0 up at half-time you start leaning on that bit as well. Norwich did well second-half, I wouldn't want to take anything away from them. I thought they had a good second half.
'I felt we were very good without the ball, very disciplined and it was probably with the ball that we were not at our best but I still think we did enough to win. We weren't brilliant but the most important thing was the three points. We should have had a third goal before they scored because we had some good opportunities, but we took too long on the pass or made the wrong decision at the crucial moment. I felt we defended well when they scored the goal and we had to do that to make sure they didn't get anything out of the game.'
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Pardew reserved special praise for strike duo Shola Ameobi and the prolific Remy who notched his eighth goal since a season-long loan move from QPR in what appears a competitive area of his squad.
'I thought Shola was excellent and he knows he has to keep that consistency now because we have some real competition up there,' said Pardew. 'He had cramp and he had to come off towards the end because he played Monday night and he would be the first to tell you it is difficult for him to play two games a week. He needs to play well and he did. Loic is almost nailed on with the goals he is scoring and Papiss (Cisse) is knocking on the door and Hatem (Ben Arfa).
'With Loic there will be a lot of talk for a long, long time about his future so I don't want to start that now. It will be an on-going thing. There are aspects he needs to learn still. I thought there were a few occasions when a little set to other players in better positions would have got us the third goal.'
Pardew was able to introduce three full internationals to replace some of his fatigued starters in the second period as well as overcome the loss of suspended French international full-back Mathieu Debuchy.
'I thought the three substitutes all contributed to the win. It shows the quality we have here and that bodes well for going forward,' he said. 'We've come through with no injuries and no suspensions so it has been a good day. We didn't want to make too many changes with things going well for us, especially to the back four, but Mapou (Yanga-Mbiwa) is versatile and we felt he could go out to right-back and do a job.'