Alan Pardew believes a wave of optimism can carry his Newcastle United team to tangible success this season.
Although the manager did admit the players need to start winning games, beginning at Aston Villa today, in order to keep this goodwill from disappearing.
The busiest summer transfer window in years has helped win back the trust of some, but not all, of the supporters.
Pardew wants this to continue for as long as possible. He said: “We’re in good shape. The feeling in the local media and our fans is one of optimism.
“That’s felt on the training ground as well. It’s felt by my staff and some of my staff have been here for 25 years. There’s a genuine feeling we’ve got a decent side here and I think we need a couple of results under our belt and then see how quickly it grows.
“There are a lot of new players. Someone said to me, are we carrying a bit of negative history from last season? But only half the team were playing; the other 50 per cent are new.
“We are kind of half-carrying it and half not. The one half are all bubbly and asking when we’re going to win. That really helps lifts the players who were here last season. That’s massive. I think. When you’ve had a disappointing season on the back of Yohan Cabaye’s departure, and this a point I’ve made to Mike (Ashley) and Lee (Charnley), it’s important for new players to come in quickly. I’m pleased we did that.”
Pardew dropped a welcome hint that with half an eye on the Capital One Cup tie at Gillingham on Tuesday night, he is going to play a strong side in the competition. Newcastle supporters will hope the manager backs up his claims as they’ve watched far too many weakened sides put out in the cup competitions in recent years.
Pardew said: “I’ve got a good idea on Tuesday of the team, the sort of strength I need to play that game. We need to win it, I make no bones about that.
Asked whether all the optimism depended on four points from the next two league games and beating League One Gillingham, Pardew said: “That would be ideal but we could get better than that and capable of doing better than that. That would be a realistic target that you mention.”
The manager also wants to make St James’ Park a fortress of sorts again after losing too many matches there over the last 18 months. Pardew said: “We got seven wins away from home and I’d be willing to take that.
“The home form was the problem and it’s a huge week with Crystal Palace on the horizon, let along Villa and Gillingham.”