Alan Pardew has urged his players to focus on winning the last four league games rather than looking at which particular European competition the club will be playing in next season.
As things stand United are guaranteed a spot in European competition next season, with the only question mark hanging over whether we’ll be playing in the Europa League or dining at the top table of European football in the Champions League.
Newcastle find themselves in 4th place at the moment and know that sealing a place that is usually good enough to be placed into the qualifying rounds of the lucrative Champions League is in their own hands. However a cruel twist of fate could see entry into the competition denied should Chelsea go on to win the final against Bayern Munich and finish outside of the top four. And wouldn’t that just be very Newcastle United if things transpired that way?
The rules changed back in 2005 when Liverpool won the Champions League and finished outside of the top four in the same season which wasn’t enough for them to qualify for the next season and defend their crown. They moaned about it and in the end UEFA gave in and allowed the top four plus Liverpool into the competition the following season but changed the rules thereafter to stop it from happening again. Now if a team from outside the top four wins the Champions League, it is they plus the the top three who gain entry into the Champions League.
Realistically, if we do finish fourth and Chelsea do win the Champions League there is very little we can do about it. Rules are rules at the end of the day and whilst it would be harsh, very harsh, it would be something that we”d just have to take. It’s pointless getting carried away about it yet anyway, as Alan Pardew was keen to express.
“We are in a great position and we have to try the best we can in the four games left. We cannot think about ifs and maybes, we have to just keep looking after ourselves,” Pardew told the Daily Express.
“There are four cup finals left between now and the end of the season and we can still finish anywhere from third to sixth.”
Absolutely right Alan. There is still a lot of football to be played and still an awful lot that could go right or wrong for any number of teams. You never know, we might just do enough to pip Arsenal to third although I personally feel that it’s unlikely. Mind you I thought us having a realistic chance of finishing fourth was unlikely and here we are so what do I know?
Do you agree with Pardew? Should we just take things as they come and worry about it after the final whistle has been blown on what has been a stunning season regardless?