Pardew: Spurs the acid test

BY foxsports • October 2, 2011

United maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign - their best in the Premier League for 17 years - with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Wolves. The Magpies have now gone seven league matches without defeat - 10 if you go back to the tail end of last season - and with just four goals conceded they proudly possess the stingiest defence in the top flight. That is despite the fact Pardew lost a further three key players over the summer in Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, following the £35million exit of Andy Carroll in January. When Pardew failed to make the big-name signing expected during the summer, questions were raised and the knives were out. But the Magpies have quietly and solidly gone about their business, compiling results that have been steady rather than stunning. Next up, once the international break is out of the way, is a home clash with Tottenham on October 16, a game Pardew feels will prove a stern examination of their credentials. "To be where we are now is an outstanding achievement, not just by the players, but by the staff I have around me," said Pardew. "It sets us up for a real blue-riband game with Spurs who are far superior to us individually. They have top international players. "But we're a decent team, and we'll get a gauge of how good a team we are in two weeks' time. "In the Premier League that is all you should focus on, and we will. We won't get carried away." If United were to win that one it would almost certainly stoke the expectations of the fans, yet Pardew is remaining grounded, which is why talk of the Champions League is simply not an option at the moment. "We've 25 points to go before we reach our first target, and then we will worry about a few others after that," added Pardew. "Of course we're all realistic and very pleased with where we are, but I don't think any of the fans will be thinking Champions League. "Let's see how the team can go because the strength of any club is not in the individual, it's in the team, and we've a decent team. "The players are not the type to get carried away either. We're pragmatic, with players who simply want to show they are good players. "We've a good team structure to do that in, and we're seeing the benefit of that. "It's important the fans see there are players in the jersey who are pulling for the club. "In the past they've had a few names who weren't pulling 100%. I look around my dressing room and I don't have anybody like that. "Everybody is pulling, we're all having a go, and there's no siege mentality - and with some of the media criticism we could have had that - we've just tried to be the best we can be." First-half goals from Demba Ba and Jonas Gutierrez handed Wolves a fourth consecutive defeat, compounded by referee Mark Halsey. The official awarded a free-kick rather than penalty for a Steven Taylor challenge inside the area on Jamie O'Hara at the end of the opening period. Then, after Steven Fletcher's 88th-minute header had reduced the deficit, a Kevin Doyle strike was disallowed when Adam Hammill's cross was adjudged to have gone out of play before Matt Jarvis' knock back. McCarthy was an unhappy man after the game, and now has a two-week break to contemplate matters. "We had three great results prior to the last international break, and since then we have lost four," said McCarthy. "I'm always positive, so let's hope it reverses itself."


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