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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Pardew plays down comments

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has emphasised that comments he made about being happy for his side to lose 4-0 to Arsenal on the final day of the season were meant as a joke.

• Duffy: Toon stagger to safety

Pardew made the remarks in the aftermath of his side's 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Sunday, which secured their Premier League status for another season.

Speaking to Newcastle's official website on Monday, Pardew said: "I know people will have picked up on my comments about not caring about the result against Arsenal, which were, of course, a joke.

"It is definitely not the case that I would be happy for us to lose 4-0 against Arsenal on Sunday. I simply want our players and fans to be able to enjoy the game without looking over their shoulders.

"Even though we are now safe, we will be putting in the same effort that we would for any other Premier League game.

"Our last two results at St James' Park - against Sunderland and Liverpool - have been nowhere near good enough, and Sunday gives us the chance to put that right.

"We want to end the season on a positive, to finish in as high a position as possible and to give the fans something to cheer about on the final day of what has been a frustrating season.

"Arsenal will be doing everything they can to try and achieve a Champions League spot, and we won't make it easy for them - make no mistake about that. This is a game everyone at this football club wants to win."

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