Alan Pardew treating every Newcastle game as a cup final

Magpies remain close to the relegation zone

Alan Pardew will adopt a cup final mentality as he attempts to guide Newcastle out of relegation trouble.

The Magpies won for the first time in seven attempts in all competitions, and just the third in 15 in the league, when they survived a second-half fightback at fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Tuesday to ease themselves four points clear of the drop zone.

However, their situation remains parlous and they entertain European champions Chelsea tomorrow knowing that, with Tottenham waiting in the wings next weekend and the sides below them showing signs of life, that advantage could evaporate quickly.

Newcastle will tackle the Blues with renewed optimism, but Pardew will set his players no targets other than the obvious one.

He said: "Obviously, there is one massive target which we mustn't lose focus on, and that's to stay in the Premier League.

"We are just going from game to game with a cup final mentality, and we will take that into Chelsea."

Tuesday's 2-1 victory was just what Pardew needed after receiving the financial backing of owner Mike Ashley to revitalise a squad riven by the departure of leading scorer Demba Ba, Cheick Tiote's presence at the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast and an injury crisis which had exposed a worrying lack of depth.

The Magpies will hope the rebuilding work, some of which they now freely admit should have been done last summer, will help to redress the balance, and the early contributions of full-back Mathieu Debuchy and midfielder Moussa Sissoko in particular have helped to dispel some of the gloom at St James' Park.

However, while the new boys have made encouraging starts to life on Tyneside, the renaissance of a more established player has been equally pleasing for Pardew.

Twelve months ago, striker Papiss Cisse exploded onto the Premier League scene with 13 goals in his first 14 appearances after completing a January move from Freiburg.

He has looked a shadow of that player for much of the current campaign, with Pardew citing Yohan Cabaye's lengthy injury absence as a significant factor, but the way he moved into space to accept Sissoko's pass and then confidently beat Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan suggested to his manager that he is finally back on track.

Pardew said: "When you are making runs and don't get any reward, there's a tendency to stop making them.

"He was getting a bit frustrated and was forcing and being offside, when he was timing his runs so much better last year.

"Then suddenly he got his goal and his runs now look on time and he looks a different prospect. Chelsea will have to be on their guard against him."

Rafael Benitez's men will arrive on Tyneside still smarting from their failure to defend a 2-0 lead at struggling Reading, the latest mishap in an indifferent run of form.

Pardew added: "Just recently, a little bit of pressure has fallen their way because of a few draws when they have actually looked like they were going to win the game.

"There's a slight question mark, for them even, of getting over the line. Sometimes you play really well but you can't get over the line and get the win, and that's probably where they are.

"That's what they will be searching for against us, so I am hoping we can stay in the game and they get edgy towards the end and hopefully we can see a victory out."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific