ALAN Pardew has declared that repeating Newcastle United’s top-five finish next season will be “impossible”.
The United boss says he wants to “educate” supporters and that marrying a European campaign with responsible spending means that expectations must be managed.
Instead he thinks that a top-eight finish, a run in one of the European cups and a domestic competition is a more realistic aim for his United side.
He made the declaration in a wide-ranging interview with London’s Evening Standard, in which he also spoke of his ambition to manage England and to compete for trophies in the future.
But it is his discussion of Newcastle’s chances next season that will prompt most interest – with Pardew’s intention to calm expectations clear.
No doubt it is the beginning of a concerted effort to keep supporters from expecting too much from a squad that will have to cope with the added burden of Europe. Pardew also says an early exit from the Europa League might help in the league.
“I’m hoping that I will educate our fans for next season,” he said.
“If they think we can finish fifth with a European campaign and the finances we’ve got, it’s impossible. I honestly believe that you need to be a bit more open with the fans. The problem some managers have is they’re not open enough.
“This year, I’m sure we’ll say something like, ‘We’re looking for a top-eight finish, hopefully attack one of the cups and have a great run in Europe. I wouldn’t say we couldn’t challenge for the top six if we got knocked out of Europe. Then we wouldn’t have those extra 13 games.”
Pardew also spoke of a new-found respect on the terraces for owner Mike Ashley. “The fans have understood that Mike’s actions are for the club’s benefit,” he said. “He’s put in the best part of £200m and there’s no return on that as yet. The berating of him in the stands has stopped. That’s been a massive battle in itself.”