Portugal trip gives United time to reflect

Emotional ... Alan Pardew.
Emotional ... Alan Pardew.

ALAN Pardew’s players haven’t just put in the hours on the training field at Newcastle United’s training camp in Portugal.

They’ve also been having a lot of “thinking time” according to Pardew, having conceded injury-time goals in their last two Premier League games.

And Pardew’s confident by the time they return to Tyneside they’ll have regrouped ready for the next round of matches, with Newcastle visiting Fulham at Craven Cottage a week today.

“It’s going well,” said Pardew. “It’s wet and windy rather than sunshine, but we’ve got some good work done.

“The guys have had a lot of thinking time about the last two games.

“It was never that (a sunshine break). It was a conditioning week to make sure we are ready for the second half of the season.

“And it was about regrouping too – looking at what we did well, what we can do better.

“Some players need rest and some need to work. When you look at Kevin Nolan out here, he’s in need of a rest.

“On the other hand, the likes of James Perch and Sol Campbell need to work, and we’ve made sure they’ve done exactly that.”

Reflecting on the draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland that left United well placed in eighth place, but frustrated at four points dropped, Pardew went on: “That is where we are.

“We’ve not overjoyed with ourselves. Yes, we’ve let in a couple of late goals, which has been disappointing, but we’ve had two great performances from the squad.

“And one of the most pleasing things is that it’s come from players who you probably wouldn’t expect. Danny Guthrie’s doing well, and was very good against Spurs. Leon Best’s doing well too.

“It’s been good, and Steve Harper also probably had his best game since he’s been back.”

The break is also a chance for Pardew and his new assistant, John Carver, to get to know the players off the pitch.

“Getting myself and John to know the lads properly was also part of it,” added Pardew.

“So we’ve done a couple of little tournaments – table tennis and table footbll – around the presentation room. There is also a golf tournament on Wednesday.

“At the moment, Besty’s probably leading the way. He’s looking like a table tennis demon.”