ALAN Pardew is convinced Newcastle United’s players still have their eyes on Champions League football.
The club dropped out of the Premier League’s top four last weekend after suffering a 4-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic.
And Newcastle, level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, face a daunting final three games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton.
However, having gauged his squad’s reaction to the hugely disappointing result at the DW Stadium on Saturday, Pardew’s confident there’s life in his team’s bid for Champions League football yet.
“I’d have liked to have gone into this game with a different feeling, but I know, having looked in the players’ eyes, there’s a determination to put it right,” Pardew told SportMail.
“Hopefully, we’ll take that onto the park, but even at our very best we could struggle to win at Chelsea.
“But we’ve got to believe we’ll get a break in the game and that we’ll be at our very best.”
Pardew has Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan back from injury and he has to decide whether to keep the same starting XI he fielded at Wigan.
“What we do need is 11 players turning up as a team, which we didn’t do first half against Wigan,” added Pardew.
“Hopefully, we’ll give our fans something to shout about, as we’ve been poor in London.
“Yesterday was a recovery day and the subs have done some work. I think we’re in good shape.
“If the first team look tired, or we need to freshen it up, we’ve got great options on the bench.”
The Wigan result ended a run of six successive victories which had taken the club above Chelsea and Spurs.
All the home side’s goals came before the break, and Pardew at least took heart from the second-half performance.
“I think you’ve got to put it in perspective – we’re vying with Chelsea and Spurs with three games to go,” said Pardew.
“When you look at the last seven games and we’ve won six and lost one, it doesn’t sound so bad.
“The second half buoyed me a little bit. There was a bit of character shown on the pitch. We could’ve got a couple of goals.
“It wasn’t like 90 minutes of failure – it was 45 minutes of madness, really.”
I think if we make sure that we start well, it’ll probably the key to the game.”