“In terms of what has happened to us and losing Ben Arfa to a terrible injury and the sale of Andy Carroll, our second half of the season we have done extraordinarily well.
“Players have stepped up to the plate and have been fantastic. Players like Shola, Joey, Kevin Nolan, Gutierrez all in around that group have been superb to work with.”
Pardew is however cautious about next year, warning fans against expecting too much too soon, and indicating that the club need reinforcements to reach their potential. “I think next year will be difficult for us. The euphoria of promotion has gone. We will suddenly start thinking we are Premier League people, and we could get a nasty surprise, so we need to make sure we don’t start the season like that.
“We need to get momentum and improve on our squad by bringing in some key offensive players. We need a bit of pace in the team and if we do that we will see where it takes us.”
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The Magpies manager also hopes to have significant backing from club owner Mike Ashley, and hinted at major signings in the close-season: “It’s always fraught with dangers and difficulties. We won’t play safe. We could play safe and finish 14th or 15th in the season for the next 4 or 5 years, but where is the ambition in that. It won’t inspire me, the fans or the chairman. The chairman wants to be a bit risky about it, and to hope that we can get players that can take us a lot better than that. That is what we are trying to find.”
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