Pardew: QPR match may decide fate
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes his side need to beat already relegated Queens Park Rangers next Sunday if they are to preserve their own position in the Premier League.
A battling 0-0 draw at West Ham last Saturday marked a significant improvement for Pardew's side following their humiliating 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool in their previous game, but Wigan's now traditional end-of-season surge has dragged Newcastle deep into the relegation mire, with their fate now out of their own hands.
With a home game against in-form Arsenal in their final game of the season, Pardew is urging his troops to treat next weekend's clash at Loftus Road as crucial. He believes several teams are back in the drop zone mix after Roberto Martinez's Latics won at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
"That win for Wigan is not just between us and them, it's put a lot of other teams in the mix now," says Pardew. "There is a lot of pressure.
"We can only determine what we can determine. We've had a tough season and now we have got to show the quality in the group to get us out of this mess that we are in.
"Of course I am aware that fate isn't in our own hands and of course, you don't want to be in that situation, but there is still a lot of football to be played this season, these next two or three games.
"Performance is going out the window now. It really is about points total. We need a win at QPR however it comes. We've got to try to keep our minds together and get through the season.
"For us, the point (at West Ham) could be absolutely crucial and we've got to make it crucial now by getting three points at QPR."
Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Jonas Gutierrez believes his side's battling display at Upton Park confirmed that the spirit in the Newcastle camp is not shattered, despite reports in several newspapers to the contrary.
"I think we showed that was a performance of a united, committed team," said Gutierrez. "Everybody could see we were fighting for each other. It has been a difficult few weeks, and we haven't been solid or compact.
"No one who was here could say we weren't playing for each other, fighting until the final whistle. If we'd played more games like this in recent weeks, I don't think we'd be talking about a relegation battle. We showed the fighting qualities we need to survive."