ALAN Pardew says he and his Newcastle United players are NOT talking about the threat of relegation – yet.
Pardew’s side are third from bottom of the Premier League, and without a win, with seven games played.
And a victory over Leicester City at St James’s Park on Saturday might not be enough to lift the Magpies out of the drop zone.
But manager Pardew insists he and his squad are not talking about the threat of another relegation battle behind the scenes at the club, which fought the drop the season before last.
“We’re just very focused on Leicester – trying to get a win there – rather than looking at the bigger picture,” Pardew said.
“I don’t think the importance of this game is lost on anyone.
“This is Leicester at home – we’ve had Hull and Crystal Palace at home, and haven’t won either. We need to win.”
Newcastle have played just one of last season’s top seven teams – champions Manchester City – and the fixture list gets tougher over the coming weeks.
The Leicester game is followed by league fixtures against Tottenham and Liverpool.
And the points the team dropped against Hull City and Crystal Palace – both games ended 2-2 – could come back to haunt the team in much the same way as home draws did when the Tynesiders were last relegated.
Pardew said: “I don’t make any excuses for any of the games we have played.
“We need to increase the margins, and that’s the same for the better quality opposition we are going to be coming up against soon.
“You have got to increase your margins to win.”
Pardew – whose side drew 2-2 at Swansea City in their last league outing – has been working with a skeleton squad during the international break with so many players away.
“It has given us a chance to look at what we’ve done,” he said.
“The stats show that we have worked harder than the opposition in terms of our intensity and work-rate.
“But we have lacked what you need to get a win. The margins need to be greater.
“Villa, where we could have won, Palace, where we could have won – those margins we need to increase.
“Our offensive play is part of that, trying to look at different avenues to get us the two-goal lead that we need.”