Pardew urges Toon patience

BY foxsports • May 23, 2011

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.

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