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Nov 30, 2013

Pardew: Top four notion 'ridiculous'

Moussa Sissoko let fly with a screamer against West Brom.
Moussa Sissoko celebrates his stunning winner.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hailed Newcastle's resilience to see off West Brom though he has claimed it is "ridiculous" to suggest his side can finish in the top four this season.

A stunning Moussa Sissoko strike set up a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion to push Pardew’s men into the top five of the Premier League, and make it four straight wins in November.

"We have had to work very, very hard because West Brom showed why they have been so difficult to beat on the road this season," he told Sky Sports.

"We showed a real resilience to come back after they got a great equaliser. Our second goal was an absolute cracker. Moussa’s workrate and his commitment to the victory was just as good as the goal. He’s had a few chances, but he let that [ball] come down, waited that extra second and hit it perfectly.

“It is important in the Premier League to have momentum. [Sir] Alex Ferguson once said that to me. It puts a glow around you, a bit like that old porridge advert. If we can keep that glow and that feeling, we’ll keep plugging away.

"There are still players who can make an impact for us who are not playing so we are in good shape.”

Pardew used his programme notes for the Saturday evening game to dampen expectations that have risen around his team following recent wins against Chelsea at Tottenham, as he was adamant that ambitions should not be set too high.

"I've been getting questions from the media over recent days asking whether the Champions League is within touching distance for this great club of ours, whether we can break into the top four and get into Europe’s elite competition for next season," he wrote.

"My response to that is it is ridiculous to speculate over such lofty targets so early into a season and just a few weeks after the same players were being criticised by the same media for failing to live up to expectations. Perceptions, as ever, change very quickly in this game.

"Having been in this game for many years now, I appreciate the press have to create stories to sell newspapers from time to time and I don’t have a problem with that, but all of us within the club are keeping our ambitions at realistic levels.

"If any of you start dreaming about the Champions League, the chances are you will end up feeling deflated and disappointed when the final games of this campaign are played because it is going to be very difficult for us to get into the mix for those positions this season, a long shot in my view.

"What we can do is enjoy a fine, committed, entertaining Newcastle team who are giving us plenty of enjoyment right now and just as it was when we finished fifth a couple of seasons back, let’s keep our feet on the ground, continue what we are doing and see where it takes us.”

Pardew went onto suggest the hectic run of fixtures in the month of December was "too much" and "would affect the quality" provided by Premier League teams, yet he is convinced his side are heading into the festive season in fine form after four straight victories.

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