Newcastle are beginning to turn the mood on Tyneside after stringing together four successive wins – a run that has changed the agenda after the club’s deeply disappointing summer transfer window.
Positive results are not likely to salve the on-going and deeply-rooted concerns many United fans have about the way the club is run, but they do change the match-day mood and answer a few of the pressing questions that were raised after last season’s late collapse.
Steve Bruce’s Hull City are unlikely to present a straightforward challenge though, however well Newcastle are playing. The Tigers have not lost at St James’ Park since 1990 and have looked capable in their first block of top-flight matches.
Pardew is wary of their threat and also acknowledges that there is a fine line to tread between encouraging high hopes after their run of wins and following a narrative that he believes to be damaging.
He feels that media outlets indulge too much in “extremes” in the Premier League era. He cited Chelsea’s midweek Champions League defeat as an example, but has already voiced his opinion that reaction to the Manchester City defeat in the opening game of the season was too harsh.
He said: “We only lost to Chelsea and Man United in our first 10 (games) last year but there’s just a different feel on the training ground and it looks like a better blend and a better spirit amongst the group than last year.
“But, as I say, you can never tell because we’ve had good starts the last two seasons and we could start really well here, but it’s a long, long season and injuries and suspensions are important.
“They’re going to affect us like all Premier League teams.
“We haven’t beaten Hull yet and what I would say about this job is that the extremes of the media is ridiculous at the moment. I really feel that.
“Particularly the Chelsea match last night.
“I was watching the BBC news and it’s a major story – Chelsea lost a game in Europe in a group where it looks to me they’ll qualify comfortably from.
“These real swathes of ‘we’re going to have a great season’ or ‘we’re going to go down’ are even more highlighted in this club for whatever reason.
“Therefore it’s important for me to keep the team on the ground, for the team to keep their feet on the ground about where we’re at but to also embroider their dreams, like with (Hatem) Ben Arfa and the Ballon d’Or.
“You can’t ignore the papers and the media, it’s constantly in your face. We’re all involved in a sport we love and whenever you turn the TV on, it’s Jamie Redknapp talking about the ‘crisis’ at Arsenal but then suddenly they’ve won four on the spin and 10 away on the trot. I don’t know what the crisis is.
“That Champions League qualifying game they had at the start of the season, Arsene Wenger’sjob’s on the line! Come on, it’s ridiculous.
“What’s important though, and I’m looking internally now, is that I feel good about the team, I think the players feel good about the team and that’s a good signal.”
Pardew also wants to encourage Ben Arfa’s stated aim of winning the Balon d’Or, which came out of an interview he gave in France this week.
He said: “I love it. It’s fantastic, that’s the way it should be. Some players don’t set their sights high enough.
“I’ve seen players at the lower level – remember I’ve been manager at Southampton and Reading and I’ve played non-league and I’ve seen very good players set their sights very low and not achieve anything, so all power to him.”