It has been a fortnight since Newcastle United were spanked 5-0 by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and after returning to action today for the first time since that nightmare, manager Alan Pardew is determined to avoid a similar setback.
The Magpies were positioned well to get into the top four at the expense of Arsenal and Chelsea two weeks ago but the visit to North London proved to be disastrous, with the Spurs emphatically moving 10 points clear of the chasing pack in third place.
While Pardew admits that the result was very difficult to accept in the immediate aftermath, the manager insists that the time off has allowed the team to reflect together on the shortcomings and prepare effectively for the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“It’s probably important after a defeat like that to get it out of the system and get back on the training ground, and make sure we start doing the jobs that we’ve committed to ourselves that we can do,” Pardew told Newcastle’s official website.
The manager added: “I think Wolves is a tough game. We’ve got our best team available, we’ll have a full house, and we’re going to make sure there’s plenty of pressure on them.
“Our last game is a performance and a scoreline that shouldn’t happen at this football club, and we’re determined to put that right on Saturday.”
Given that his men are only a point adrift of the Gunners and the Blues, in fourth and fifth respectively, Pardew is aware that a favorable string of results will push the Magpies back into contention for Champions League qualification.
“When you look where we are, we’re there by right,” the manager asserted as he continued to defend the merits of his team.
Pardew will be able to count on returning midfielders Yohan Cabaye (from suspension) and Chiek Tiote (African Cup of Nations), with defender Ryan Taylor also recovering from injury.
With the squad nearing full strength, the calendars in Tyneside are already marked for March 12, when Newcastle travel to the Emirates Stadium to face an Arsenal side that has also been in the news for many reasons – the most recent one being the departure of playmaker Andrey Arshavin on loan to former club Zenit St. Petersburg.