ALAN Pardew says it again smells like team spirit at Newcastle ahead of Chelsea’s St James’s Park visit on Saturday.
Goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye steered the Magpies to a vital 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Tuesday – their first away victory in eight months.
“There’s great unity and the feeling among them in the dressing room was as greater feeling as I can remember at Newcastle, if I’m honest,” Pardew said, after his men moved four points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Pardew handed full debuts to Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came off the bench late on.
Sissoko – who played in Cisse for his opening goal – caught the eye before he tired in the second half.
However, Pardew believes his longer-serving players – like Fabricio Coloccini and fit-again defensive partner Steven Taylor – will have the biggest role to play over the coming weeks as Newcastle look to close in on the 40-point safety mark.
“These players weren’t brought in to take the plaudits,” added Pardew.
“They’re here to help. That’s what they’re here for. They’re not here to save us – they’re here to help.
“The real ones who are going to save us are Coloccini, Taylor, (Tim) Krul and Shola Ameobi. They’re the ones that know how this club works.
“These guys came in and helped us. Sissoko and Yohan, and Mapou coming on.
“They helped us, and that’s exactly how we pencilled it in. That’s exactly what they’re here to do.”
Cabaye put Newcastle 2-0 ahead with a stunning goal on the half hour at Villa, and Pardew is looking forward to seeing him form a midfield partnership with the powerful Sissoko, signed from Toulouse.
“He’s a class act,” said Pardew. “He’s going to enjoy playing with Sissoko. He’s going to protect him and give him that power and pace. I was very, very pleased with both of them.”
Pardew also feels he has the personnel to “challenge” Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea team in a way he didn’t before last week’s influx of players.
“The stadium’s going to have a different feel on Saturday,” added Pardew.
“We’ve got a big club coming – Chelsea – and the players deserve it to be positive after that performance, and I think it will be. For me on the sidelines, we’ve got a team that can challenge Chelsea.
“We’ll need a bit of luck to beat them, but I think we can do it.”
H Left-back Massadio Haidara played 53 minutes for Newcastle U21s in yesterday’s 3-0 home loss to Reading, in which keeper Jak Alnwick and substitute Jamie Sterry were sent off.