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Pardew in talks over Toon direction

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was to hold talks with owner Mike Ashley on Wednesday to establish the reasons for the club's poor season, according to the Press Association.

• Pardew wary of interest in stars

Having finished fifth in the 2011-12 season, Newcastle suffered an alarming dip in form this season and finished just two places clear of the relegation zone. That led to speculation that Pardew, who signed an eight-year contract in September, could be axed.

However, he was set to discuss his vision for the future with Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias on Wednesday, and made clear in an interview with the Evening Chronicle newspaper that he believed he could return the club to the upper reaches of the table next season.

"We need to strengthen," he told the newspaper. "Even with our best team out I think we would have finished below Liverpool, and we want to threaten them – so we need to improve."

He hopes that the absence of European football will help the team reach their potential in the Premier League, saying: "I genuinely think that without the Europa League our performances will be a lot stronger."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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