Alan Pardew has urged his Newcastle players to make the most of the opportunity that has been presented to them this season by making sure they qualify for Europe.
With seven games to go, Newcastle find themselves in 6th place, level on points with 5th placed Chelsea and, being rather optimistic, only five points shy of Arsenal and Tottenham in 3rd and 4th place respectively. In short, we are ideally placed for a tilt at Europe.
Indeed Alan Pardew has admitted that Europe wasn’t in our plans for this season and insists that it was a target meant for next season, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and make the most of it whilst we can. And with a Good Friday trip to Swansea followed by back to back home games against Bolton and Stoke, there appears to be a chance to gain further momentum in the race for 5th place.
“The target was to be in contention for Europe next year, now we find ourselves in contention for Europe this year,” Pardew told The Journal.
He continued: “Football doesn’t often put an opportunity in front of you, so you’ve got to try and grasp it. I’ve been saying that to the players. We’ve got an opportunity, so let’s grasp it with both hands and hopefully that’s what we’ll do in the remaining games.”
And why are we in this positions? Well it’s down to two things according to Pardew. One is the success of our squad players, which is something Wolfie wrote about yesterday, and the other thing is that we actually have players which are good enough to warrant a stab at Europe.
“You have to say we’ve had outstanding players, and you need that in the Premier League to achieve anything. You can’t get those results without outstanding players. That’s what we’ve got,” said Pardew.
“All the squad have played a part. That doesn’t always happen at a club,” he said. “You can go through a season and squad players come in and they do okay but the team doesn’t get the same results, and there’s a little bit of bad feeling goes on between one group and the other, but we’ve not had that.”
“Players have come in and done as well as the ones that have gone out and I’ve not lost a wink of sleep over selecting someone over somebody else and that’s important.”
“A lot of things were settled last year and we put down the foundations of how we played and conducted ourselves around the training ground and that’s followed through this season so it’s been a lot easier for the new players to settle into that environment,” Pardew concluded.
He then issues one last rallying call ahead of the game tomorrow by saying: “We find ourselves in a great position after the result on Sunday. We’ve got to try and grasp the opportunity now.”
Personally I still think 5th is going to be out of our reach this season, but it shouldn’t stop us going for it whilst we can. Why not? Make hay whilst the sun shines if you like.
If we keep winning games between now and the end of the season then who knows what will happen? It’s been a season of unexpected success on so many levels so why should it end here? If we can keep getting the points on the board then perhaps we won’t even have to worry about who is playing who in the FA Cup after all?
Now it’s just up to our boys to take the opportunity presented to them.