Feelgood factor back at St James’s

HAPPY ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew.
HAPPY ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew.

NEWCASTLE United’s 3-0 win over Bordeaux has restored the feelgood factor at St James’s Park, according to Alan Pardew.

And Manchester United have been warned by Pardew that his team – and the club’s fans – are ready for Sunday’s game.

Newcastle have yet to hit form in the Premier League, and their performance in the Europa League group game was their best yet this season.

Strikes from Shola Ameobi and Papiss Demba Cisse – and an own-goal from visiting defender Henrique – saw Bordeaux’s 17-match unbeaten run brought to an emphatic end at St James’s Park.

Pardew’s hoping the performance – and result – can kick-start the club’s domestic campaign.

“I think we needed a performance where we felt good about ourselves,” Pardew told the Gazette. “You’ll be surprised, in football that’s a big thing. We’ve got two of our biggest games of the season – Man United and Sunderland – coming up, so it was perfect timing.

“It was a great performance and I couldn’t have asked for more as a manager.”

Pardew had been publicly critical of his team’s performances of late, but kept his harshest words for his players.

“I have been critical, more so in the dressing room than in the press about our performances, and I wanted us to play with a bit more verve and energy and ambition,” he added.

“I thought we did that against a side that hadn’t been beaten for 17 games. The goals hurt them, and gave us a platform to play as well as we did. I was just pleased with the way we approached the game.

“I was pleased with the way we saw the game out.

“You could see that we had worked on our control of the game. Our passing was terrific.

“There’s so much to be pleased about, and we didn’t have to work as hard as I thought we would. You don’t want a helter-skelter game when you’ve got Manchester United two days later.

“I think our energy levels will be good for United. I think our fans will be pretty excited about that fixture, and I’m looking forward to it.

“You can bet your life this place is going to be rocking on Sunday after that performance, and it’s going to be a tough game for us, and a tough game for Manchester United, for sure.”

Cisse has struggled to rediscover the blistering form which saw him score 13 goals for Newcastle after his January move from Freiburg.

However, Pardew’s confident the striker – who opened his account in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat to Man United at Old Trafford – can now get off the mark in the Premier League.

Cisse superbly hooked a Shane Ferguson cross past Cedric Carrasso for United’s third goal early in the second half.

“We all worry about his confidence more than he does,” said Pardew. “It’s pretty sound, his confidence.

“It was a fantastic goal, by the way. The technique, to swivel and score like that, was of the top level.”

The Gazette’s Europa League coverage is in association with UTS Engineering Ltd. http://www.uts-ltd.com/