Pardew admits Newcastle are still struggling for rhythm

LOOKING ON ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew during the Premier League match at the Madejski Stadium.
LOOKING ON ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew during the Premier League match at the Madejski Stadium.
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ALAN Pardew has admitted Newcastle United’s team spirit will only take them so far this season.

Demba Ba’s two goals earned the club a scarcely-deserved point against Reading at the Madjeski Stadium on Saturday.

The strikes took the striker’s goal tally for the season to six.

Pardew – who was taunted by the home fans on his return to Reading, where he started his managerial career – has conceded his team are still to find their “rhythm” going forward.

However, the togetherness and spirit of his players has ensured the club has still picked up enough points to stay in the top half of the Premier League.

Newcastle are ninth in the division, with their only defeat having come away to Chelsea last month.

Injury-hit United are a work in progress this term, and Pardew hopes his attacking players will click – sooner rather than later.

“I keep saying that we’re struggling to get our rhythm in these games,” Pardew told the Gazette.

“This was a tough place to come – the energy levels of Reading were fantastic. They showed a lot of quality.

“We were struggling for long periods, and our spirit has seen us get a point again.

“We can’t keep relying on our spirit. We’ll have to play a lot better than that if we’re going to get wins, especially away from home.

“I don’t want to say it wasn’t good enough, because I thought we tried hard, but we definitely aren’t playing at our best, and we need to find it,

“That’s the one good thing that’s going on for us at the minute.

“We’re not getting beat, and picking up important points.

“There’s going to be a lot of teams get beat here. I know they haven’t won, but they’ve got a lot of quality”

Meanwhile, Reading manager Brian McDermott was frustrated at Ba’s second goal.

Ba’s handball went unpunished, and he said: “It is disappointing to say the least.”