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Newcastle rediscover the magic - but for how long
A VICTORY over Hull City today could lift Newcastle United up in to the Premier League’s top four, with manager Alan Pardew admitting his team has got its sparkle back.
After last season’s battle to beat the drop, fears of a repeat were raised after Newcastle failed to add to the lone acquisition of Loic Remy before the transfer deadline on September 2.
Either side of that date, however, the Magpies have claimed victories over Fulham and Aston Villa to ensure seven points have been claimed from the first 12 available to them.
While concerns remain among supporters about the level of ambition there is to take the club forward from inside the boardroom, Pardew is more confident about the mood within his camp – particularly after Yohan Cabaye stayed at St James’ Park.
The Newcastle boss, who led Newcastle to fifth two seasons ago, said: “We only lost to Chelsea and Man United in our first ten games last year, but there's just a different feel on the training ground this time.
“It looks like a better blend and a better spirit amongst the group than last year but as I say you can never tell because we've had good starts the last two seasons and we could start really well here. It's a long, long season and injuries and suspensions are important. They're going to affect us like all Premier League teams.”
Pardew is wary of any optimism around St James’ Park gathering too much pace too soon, having experienced the highs and lows of being in charge of Newcastle all too often.
“We haven’t beaten Hull yet and what I would say about this job is that the extremes of the media are ridiculous,” he said. “Particularly the Chelsea match on Wednesday, I was watching the BBC news and it's a major story! Chelsea lost a game in Europe, in a group where it looks to me they'll qualify comfortably from.
“These real swathes of 'we're going to have a great season', 'we're going to go down' is even more highlighted at this club for whatever reason. Therefore it's important for me to keep the team on the ground, for the team to keep their feet on the ground about where we're at but to also embroider their dreams, like with (Hatem) Ben Arfa and the Ballon d'Or.”
Earlier this week Ben Arfa, who has started the season brilliantly and was at his best at Villa Park a week ago, revealed he still dreams of becoming the world’s greatest player.
Pardew said: "I love it. It's fantastic, that's the way it should be. Some players don't set their sights high enough. I've seen players at the lower level, remember I've been manager at Southampton and Reading and I've played non-league and I've seen very good players set their sights very low and not achieve anything, so all power to him.”
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