ALAN Pardew believes Newcastle United’s heroics this season have “shaken up” the Premier League’s established top teams.
The Magpies travel to relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic today hoping to make it seven wins in a row, a run that has secured European football and a possible place in the Champions League.
This is form not witnessed since the glory days of Kevin Keegan’s first reign as manager on Tyneside and it has stunned the rest of English football, something that has delighted the manager.
Pardew said: “When I go around the country and meet other managers, they appreciate the job that has been done here by everyone and that we have got a good team.
“But it’s the same for every season; you’ve got to have good players. We are fortunate enough to have very good players who have put in some fantastic performances.
“Right now, I look at the group and I’ve still got armoury that I haven’t used yet. I haven’t used Shola Ameobi recently, but then I haven’t needed to use Shola. I’ve also got Ryan Taylor willing to get on and add some bite for us.
“We still have fantastic players who we can bring in to make an impact. I think it’s incredible what we’ve done. We have been a breath of fresh air.
“You talk about Norwich and Swansea and the impact they’ve had and the way they play, which is great, but you can’t get away from the fact that we have shaken up the league.
“And we have done it in the right manner because we have played the right way. We have flair that sets us apart from most of the others.”
Newcastle fans are once again proud of their team and will fill every seat in the away end at Wigan’s DW Stadium this afternoon.
Under Keegan, United were unofficially the second favourite team of most other supporters because of their attacking style, a phenomenon that has made a return over recent months.
Pardew said: “I wasn’t a Newcastle fan, but you would always smile when you think of Newcastle United. If you think of the flair players they have had over the years and the players they have produced. It’s just great to emulate all of that.
“It’s about getting the right people in and getting them to work hard on the football pitch. I still don’t think the ratio of the top teams has changed that much (in terms of money). It is still very difficult for us to break into that top four. It’s still a long shot, but if we do it then a lot of people will look at how we did it.”
Wigan have taken some big scalps recently, including Arsenal and Manchester United, so there is no way Pardew will allow complacency to creep in at this late stage.
Life is good for the Newcastle boss right now, however, he is still some way off from putting his feet up and soaking in the praise that has rightly come his way.
He said: “You can only enjoy this time in so much you still worry about the next game. Wigan’s form has been great and the fact they have confidence from beating some of the top teams worries me. On the other side, when looking at the boys in training, we do look in good shape.
“A draw at Wigan would be a fabulous result for us at this stage. Manchester United would have longed for that a bit earlier in the season. But even if we score an equaliser with two minutes to go, I won’t settle for that. We are going to go on and try to win. That is going to make it interesting.”