Newcastle Utd boss Alan Pardew happy to stay under the radar

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa

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ALAN Pardew’s happy for Newcastle United’s hopes of a Champions League place to be written off – as it suits them to be “under the radar”.

Pardew’s sixth-placed side take on Stoke City at St James’s Park this afternoon looking to keep the pressure up on the teams above them in the Premier League.

United are 33/1 outsiders to finish in the top four – despite winning six of their last eight games.

Newcastle beat Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in that run of matches.

Yet bookmakers are offering shorter odds for the team, which is just six points off leaders Liverpool, to be relegated than win the league. However, Pardew is happy for his side to be left out of discussions about Champions League qualification.

“We’re not fully part of it, which is great,” Pardew told the Gazette. “We don’t mind that. We go along under a radar a little bit.

“But sitting on 30 points, and above Man United, I don’t think any Newcastle fan would moan about that. It’s been a terrific season so far.

“Like all seasons, you’re going to have the odd day where it doesn’t go well – we’ve had a few of those – but not many.

“If we can keep those down, we’ve got a great chance of doing something special.”

Asked if he had adjusted the club’s stated pre-season goal of a top-10 finish, Pardew added: “We’ve not really discussed it as a group. I’ve not put to them any goals about where we should finish etc.

“It’s fairly obvious that we’re going really well.

“We just need to try to keep our feet on the ground, and stay with that pack if we can.”

Stoke are nine points behind United in 10th place.

And Pardew is looking for Newcastle to take all three points from a rare Boxing Day home fixture.

Pardew went on: “It’s always about setting up the next game. We’re now looking to beat Stoke to set up the Arsenal game. We haven’t looked further than that.”

Twitter @milesstarforth