NEWCASTLE United’s World Cup-bound players have been warned not to lose sight of matters closer to home as they dream about Brazil.
The likes of Cheik Tiote, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Tim Krul and Shola Ameobi are hoping to feature in the summer’s World Cup finals.
All bar Krul have all been called up by their respective countries for next week’s friendlies.
However, United manager Alan Pardew insists thoughts of World Cup must be put to the back of their minds when they return from international duty.
Newcastle – who face Hull City at the KC Stadium this afternoon – have 11 club games left to play before they link up with their countries.
“Every week is an important week for these players,” Pardew said.
“They understand we need to get results.
“Regardless of international football, it’s about Newcastle. We’ve got 11 games to play.
“The World Cup is an added bonus for them. It’s a huge target, for sure.”
Eighth-placed United ended a three-game Premier League losing streak last weekend with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
It had been suggested by some that the players had nothing left to play for given the ground lost to the teams chasing the European place since the turn of the year.
But Pardew believes the way his side celebrated Loic Remy’s late strike dispelled that notion.
“It’s an easy tag to put against us,” said Pardew.
“But the goal we scored last week – and those pictures (of the team celebrating Remy’s goal) – showed we care.”
Pardew welcomed back Tiote and captain Fabricio Coloccini from injury for the game.
And he felt his team had more “cohesion” and shape.
“Obviously, I thought the players did well in their positions,” said Pardew.
“Moussa on the right, and then through the middle. Gouff (Yoan Gouffran) on the left tied that side up.
“Remy was back through the middle and scored the goal.
“We looked more cohesive. We’re definitely in a better place, for sure, with our mood and our fitness.”
l NEWCASTLE United’s game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium has been put back to Monday, April 28 (8pm kick-off) for live broadcast by Sky Sports.
However, the fixture could again be moved should Arsene Wenger’s side advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Arsenal trail Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Round of 16 after the first-leg of their tie at the Emirates Stadium this week.