ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United’s Champions League hopes will hinge on one factor – asset management!
Pardew’s side made it seven wins from their last nine games with a 5-1 victory over Stoke City yesterday, keeping the Magpies in sixth place in the Premier League.
When United last amassed more than 30 points at this stage of the season – under Sir Bobby Robson in 2001/02 – they qualified for the Champions League.
And squad management will be key over the coming weeks and months if Newcastle are going to keep pace with the teams above them, according to Pardew.
Pardew said: “I look at the team, and we’ve got some tremendous assets who haven’t been seen for a while.
“Hatem (Ben Arfa) did some unbelievable things, Papiss (Cisse) scored, Shola (Ameobi) made another telling contribution and Massadio (Haidara) showed his influence with that left foot of his.
“We have got a lot of assets in the background, and it’s about just keeping rolling along and trying to win as many games as we can.”
Next up for United are Premier League leaders Arsenal, who visit St James’s Park on Sunday.
And Pardew feels he will know a “little bit more” about his team’s credentials come the final whistle.
“We have been on an incredible run, really,” said Pardew.
“I’m not sure any team has beaten that run over the last nine or 10 games this season – even Arsenal – so we have set ourselves up for what will be an intriguing encounter.
“We will probably know a little bit more about this team after Arsenal.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be without influential midfielder Aaron Ramsey at St James’s Park.
Ramsey suffered a thigh strain in yesterday’s 3-1 win over West Ham United.
“It looks a thigh strain,” said Wenger. “The Christmas period is certainly over for him.”