4 April 2013 08:49
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is convinced his side’s difficult season will galvanize them for the next campaign.
After exceeding expectations last season, with the club finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League, Newcastle have disappointed this term and sit just three points above the relegation zone with eight games remaining.
The sale of Demba Ba combined with a significant injury list have left Pardew’s squad stripped to its core at times, but the manager thinks they will be in a great position for next year.
“We got caught out a bit in terms of the size of our squad in the Europa League,” Pardew told reporters.
“But we remedied that in January and we will be stronger for this season come next year. We’re in a great position for the (European) summer.
“I’m optimistic (Newcastle will stay up) because we’re playing well. We were unlucky to lose 2-1 at Wigan and need to continue playing like that.”
Newcastle endured a tough period in December and January as the club ended up increasingly closer to the relegation zone, a time in which Pardew admitted he often looked back to his time as a non-league footballer for inspiration.
He added: “I remember how hard it was and that can help you in the dark moments. I have great memories, like playing in the third round of the FA Cup, which was huge at the time.
“That was probably the highlight of my career then. You always dream of pulling a big club out of the hat in the FA Cup as a non-league player. Non-league is the fabric of our game.”