ALAN Pardew has sensed a new-found calm on the training field at Newcastle United – after a fraught few weeks.
And Pardew’s hopeful that will translate on to the pitch – where Newcastle have lacked composure on the ball.
Newcastle ended a three-game losing streak on Sunday when they beat Aston Villa 1-0 at St James’s Park thanks to a dramatic injury-time winner from Loic Remy.
United – eighth in the Premier League with 11 games left to play – take on Hull City at the KC Stadium on Saturday looking to build on that hard-fought victory.
Remy’s goal lightened the mood on Tyneside, which had darkened since the turn of the year after a series of poor results and the sale of influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who was not replaced.
The result has lifted spirits in the city, and Newcastle manager Pardew believes the impact will be just as significant in the dressing room.
Asked about the result, Pardew said: “It was important for our fans, but equally so for us.
“We have to go into into training. We have to lift ourselves. After that win, there’ll be a few more smiles.
“We can calm down in training. We were a little bit fraught.
“We need to be calm on the ball and show a bit more composure. If we can do that, we can get back to our best.”
The Villa game came after a 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, when United were out-played and out-fought on an entirely forgettable night at St James’s Park.
While Pardew admitted Newcastle lacked cohesion going forward against Paul Lambert’s team, he didn’t think they were short of “commitment and effort”.
“The margins are tight in in football,” Pardew said.
“You have to get yourself in a position for the margins to matter.
“Against Tottenham, the margins were irrelevant. We were never in the game. So it didn’t matter.
“We could have had a great slice of luck and been beaten 4-1.
“So the commitment and effort of the team was everything.
“That got us a platform for the victory and the clean sheet. It created the moment from which Loic, the best player on the pitch by some distance, scored.
“Only he could have scored that goal because of his quality.”
Pardew – who brought in Faye Downey as a fitness consultant last summer – was also heartened by his side’s fitness levels against Villa.
“Our fitness levels were great,” he added. “We worked hard on that.”