ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United will go back to basics in New Zealand.
Newcastle kick off their two-game tour of the country with a match against Sydney FC in Dunedin tomorrow (8.30am kick-off BST).
Alan Pardew pledged to field a strong team in the friendly – which has been overshadowed by the tragic deaths of New Zealand-bound United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Newcastle manager Pardew – expected to hand new signing Emmanuel Riviere his debut – needs to find a winning formation over the coming weeks.
United struggled for goals in the latter months of last season, when the club’s once-promising challenge for a European place fell away. And that is something Pardew needs to address – and quickly.
“It’s definitely about our athletic levels and getting a gameplan that’s going to suit us,” said Pardew, who is without new arrivals Remy Cabella and Daryl Janmaat.
Until the arrivals of Cabella, Siem de Jong, pictured, and Emmanuel Riviere this month, the squad looked short of goals after the departures of Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi.
Striker Papiss Demba Cisse is also sidelined with a long-term knee injury.
Pardew – who is keen for the club to sign another forward – believes the club has gone a long way to “addressing” that issue.
“We’ve signed a number of new players,” added Pardew.
“We’re fortunate to have Siem on this trip – and Emmanuel. That’s helpful because in the striking department we were beginning to look like we were getting really needy towards the end of last year.
“We’ve addressed that. Hopefully, out here we can get a better balance between defending and attacking.
“We’re known for attacking football, but at the back end of last year, you wouldn’t have thought that had you watched us play.
“We need to get back to what we’re about.”
Meanwhile, Pardew, speaking ahead of the Sydney FC game, is determined that his team honour the memory of Alder and Sweeney in New Zealand – and over the coming nine months.
“The only thing we can do in their memory is conduct ourselves to the best of our ability on this trip,” said Pardew. “We’re going to do that, and hopefully have a successful season.
“We have to honour these guys in the right manner because it does mean a lot to us. Their tragic loss has hurt the group.”