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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones