Pardew urges Toon patience

The Magpies ended their first campaign back in the top flight in
12th place as a result of Sunday’s final day 3-3 draw with West
Brom, and would have finished ninth had they been able to defend
the 3-0 lead they held with just 28 minutes to play. Their
disappointment was eased by the relative comfort with which they
managed to hang on to their regained status, and as Pardew prepared
to put his summer recruitment plans into place, he was well aware
that expectations for next season will be significantly higher than
the sole ambition of survival. The manager said: “That’s what I
wanted to do. You don’t want to come here and say, ‘Mediocrity,
that’s what we want’. We want to excel. “But you are going to have
to invest very well and shrewdly over the next two or three years
to get yourself really competitive for that top eight. “We could
finish next year higher than top eight, maybe, but it might be
because a little bit of luck falls our way and we steer clear of
injuries. “To have sustained success up there, we need to build
over the next two years, for sure.” The need for that building work
was illustrated by the late capitulation which cost Pardew’s men
the three points they craved as they brought the curtain down on a
successful campaign. Just as the 4-4 draw with Arsenal after they
had trailed 4-0 earlier in the season felt like a victory, this
felt like a defeat. At 3-0, Newcastle were flattered by the
scoreline with woeful defending and a goalkeeping error by Scott
Carson contributing to first-half strikes from Steven Taylor and
Peter Lovenkrands before Jonas Olsson put through his own goal two
minutes after the restart. However, there seemed little prospect of
a collapse even after Somen Tchoyi had reduced the deficit with 62
minutes gone. But the Cameroon international lashed home a second
10 minutes later and as the Magpies wilted alarmingly, dived to
head home Olsson’s last-minute cross to snatch a point and allow
the full-back to atone for his earlier howler. And so a season
which had exceeded the expectations of many ended with a whimper
and boos rather than cheers as the chance of a top-10 finish and
the opportunity to lord it over derby rivals Sunderland dissolved.
However, when the dust settles on a disappointing afternoon, Pardew
and his players will reflect on a job well done which has helped to
establish a far more solid foundation than the one upon which their
first campaign back in the top flight was based. The Newcastle
boss, of course, only took over at the helm in December following
Chris Hughton’s demise and steered the ship from choppy, if not
stormy, waters into the relative calm of midtable. Opposite number
Roy Hodgson did not take up the reins at The Hawthorns until
February after Roberto di Matteo was relieved of his duties, and at
that point, the Baggies trailed Newcastle by five points. But the
former Liverpool boss’s 12 games brought just two defeats and a
return of 20 points, a return which eased them into 11th place, one
better off than their final-day opponents.