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Sunday, April 21, 2013
Pardew: Survival not guaranteed

David Instone

Manager Alan Pardew insists that Newcastle United still have much to do to ensure their Premier League survival.

• Blog: Gutless Newcastle humiliated in derby

Pardew's men took a small step towards safety, as well as starting to repair the damage of their derby humiliation against Sunderland, by drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

But a points tally of 37 and a six-point lead over 18th-placed Wigan is not being seen on Tyneside as insurance against the drop.

"We're still fighting for our lives," the manager said. "We've got to fight like that for the remaining four games.

"I'm not being confident and I'm certainly not being arrogant about it. We've still got work to do. We've got tough games to come.

"I want to stay in the Premier League. I think we've got a strong team but we need to prove that. That's why this point was so important. They're gold dust at this time of year, especially when you're away from home. We've got two away games left and need to get a solid return."

Newcastle must still visit West Ham and QPR, as well as face Liverpool (next Saturday) and Arsenal at St James' Park.

Cheick Tiote may be available after injury for the weekend and Fabricio Coloccini is also due to resume training this week.

And Pardew believes the counter attraction of a long run in the Europa League has made this a difficult season for his players.

Asked if their absence from the competition next season would be a benefit to their League fortunes, he added: "There's no doubt about that. This was our 50th game, which goes a little bit unnoticed.

"Fifty professional games and all the travelling involved as well & that's tough. I think clubs will look at us as to the impact the competition can have; not only because of the extra games but the injuries that we've had on the back of them.

"It would be naive to argue that our League position would not be greater than it is without Europe.

"Listen, we loved the Europa League. It was brilliant and we fully attacked it. There are only four teams left in it now and they're all Champions League teams. It's a tough one to win.

"If we have to take criticism for making sure we played hard in that competition, then we have to accept that. But it has affected our League form.

"You're in competitions because you want to win them. This club - I'm talking about my club now - have not won a trophy for God knows how many years. But we've had to pay a heavy penalty on the Sundays, not just Sunderland but previous games as well.

"Swansea are going to find that next season. It's difficult unless you really increase the size of your squad."

Pardew is uncertain as to what the survival mark in the Premier League is, adding: "I don't really want to think about what it would take to put the safety issue to bed & 39, 41, 42?

"You're talking to a [former] West Ham manager who inherited a team that went down with 42 points. You must never take your eye off that. You've got to keep pushing. Not even a win against Liverpool would make us safe.

"The division is so tight. You could end up around 11th or getting relegated, so we need to make sure we try and focus the same energy levels and the same commitment on every game."




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