Alan Pardew admits that Newcastle United must show more imagination and application in the final third – as they prepare to take on a resolute Crystal Palace side.
The United boss watched on from a hotel room as his Magpies struggled to break down Fulham, with Papiss Cisse missing a gilt-edged chance and seeing David Stockdale pull off a wonder save to deny him just before half-time.
Luuk de Jong continued to look smart in and around the box but any kind of cutting edge continues to elude him. Pardew wants to see the team put that right against Palace.
Pardew admitted: “We’ve got a good idea of the team they’ll play, they did well at Sunderland and I don’t think they’ll have much incentive to change that line-up. We need to come up with more imagination than we did at Fulham. Our work in the last third wasn’t good enough.”
United have not scored in six Premier League games that Loic Remy hasn’t been involved in and they can ill afford to make it seven against Tony Pulis’ team.
Cisse has only scored once in the Premier League, Shola Ameobi hasn’t scored at all this season and De Jong is still waiting for his own maiden Premier League strike. The other options are Hatem Ben Arfa – who has effectively been placed on notice by Pardew – and youngster Adam Armstrong.
Yoan Gouffran is also enduring something of a barren run after his glut of goals earlier in the season.
Pardew said: “Loic’s not our player and he’s scored most of our goals and we’re struggling to score goals without him. We really need Papiss, Hatem, Luuk, Gouff to come up with the goals.”
John Carver was supportive of Cisse in the wake of his Craven Cottage disappointment and Pardew also backed his stuttering striker to get back on the goal trail.
The Newcastle boss said: “When Papiss does something right the opposing keeper does something even better but his application has been good.”
Pardew must also decide whether to hand Adam Armstrong, the 17-year-old who made his debut at Fulham, a home bow in front of St James’ Park.
He said: “It wasn’t something I thought about before the game but as it unfolded we just thought it might be something for us to give us a spark. He did well.”