Confidence, self belief amongst the playing group, a winning mentality. I don’t really care what you call it to be honest, all I know is that I want it to continue in earnest as the season kicks on. What has changed is hard to put a finger on. Fresh players have been given a chance and injected life into a squad that was stale and had seen little change over the first month and a half of the season.
Pardews’ tactics also seem to have evolved (a little) and buoyed by a shot of confidence, he is making more right calls than wrong. On that point, I have always maintained that Pardew is a confidence manager, when he is down his teams are right there with him, so it is nice to see he is showing a little more swagger again. I still harbor doubts over his long term tenure in charge but for now, Pardew is showing some backbone and if we keep improving, I am prepared to cut him some slack.
Everyone knows that winning games is the best way to regain lost confidence and pride. Until the second half against Spurs, I really had no idea where or when we would see either of those things but something has changed and the results have followed. Every player has stepped up a notch and they all are fighting hard to the final whistle. We are pressing hard in the middle of the park, getting players into the box more regularly when we attack and most importantly our defence is not leaking goals.
So I guess it is up to each person to decide what has made the difference during the last four games. No one factor is contributing alone, it is a combination of things. Everyone sees things differently but I think we can all agree that things are as good at the moment as we have seen for some time.
Long may it continue!