NEWCASTLE United are out of the relegation zone – but not out of the woods.
Manager Alan Pardew left White Hart Lane yesterday with a big smile on his face after his team’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Newcastle came from behind to claim a second successive victory thanks to second-half strikes from substitute Sammy Ameobi and Ayoze Perez, lifting the Magpies out of the Premier League’s bottom three and into 14th place.
There were calls from frustrated fans for Pardew to be dismissed earlier in the season.
But owner Mike Ashley – who was at White Hart Lane with PR advisor Keith Bishop – kept faith with Pardew.
The manager, however, knows he – and his team – have a long way still to go this season.
“Back end of last year we struggled, and the start of this year – with our new players not quite settling – we struggled again,” said Pardew.
“I have not hidden from that, and I have not hidden from the criticism.
“We still have a lot to do in this Premier League season, but I am going to smile, and I am going to enjoy this victory, because it’s a big, big win for us.”
Asked if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders after successive wins over Tottenham and Leicester, Pardew said: “No, because I think you have to be realistic.
“I look at our side. We’re still missing some big players. But the young players were terrific.
“Sammy Ameobi made a great little cameo, and Paul Dummett was brilliant, second-half.
“You have to lean on the positives when you’re in this position. That’s what we have done.”
Pardew feels the Premier League is proving more unforgiving than usual this season.
“There’s possibly been a couple of games we could have won, but the Premier League is a tough league, and you really have to earn a win,” he added.
“We’re all finding that out this year. Every game I’ve seen has been very, very competitive except for just a few.”