Newcastle Utd boss knows about pressure

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew

ALAN Pardew says his Newcastle United players felt the pressure last season – just as the BBC newsreader did in his iPad gaffe.

Journalist Simon McCoy this week presented a live report holding a packet of photocopier paper after picking it up instead of his tablet computer.

Pardew – whose side fought a season-long relegation battle last term – says the blunder underlined what pressure can do to individuals.

And he feels his team, which will take on Hull City at St James’s Park tomorrow looking for a third successive Premier League win, has had a weight lifted from its shoulders this season.

“There was a newsreader this week who picked up a packet of A4 paper which he thought was his iPad,” said Pardew.

“You can’t get that wrong in real life, but the pressure of the TV cameras and the pressure of his job made him pick up the A4.

“So that’s what pressure can do to you.”

United signed five players in January, and they had to adjust to both the pace and power of English football and the pressure of playing in a relegation battle.

“We were under pressure last year, and it did affect us, especially our new boys like (Moussa) Sissoko, Mapou (Yanga-Mbiwa) and Mathieu (Debuchy).

“Now that’s all gone, we’re seeing the best of them. We’re starting to see them blossom a bit. It’s contributing to the better look to the team we have.”

Newcastle’s shape and formation is similar to that two seasons ago, when the team finished fifth and qualified for the Europa League.

With loan signing Loic Remy operation on the left side of a front three, United have found an attacking fluency which was seldom seen last term.

“Sometimes it’s about the personnel in the roles that you have available,” added Pardew.

“We have a team that is very similar to in its set-up to the team that finished fifth. It is something that I’ve worked hard on this year.

“It could still evolve, and we still have other options. (Yoan) Gouffran and (Sylvain) Marveaux are really pushing.

“At the minute they are all fit and well other than Shola (Ameobi) and Jonas (Gutierrez).

“All of our offensive players look like they’ve stepped up a bit.”

STEVE Bruce is wary of the “passion” of Newcastle United’s fans St James’s Park – the scene of one of the lowest moments in his managerial career.

Hull City take on Alan Pardew’s side at the stadium tomorrow.

And boyhood-Newcastle fan Bruce (below), in charge of the Sunderland side beaten 5-1 on Tyneside three years ago,says his players must be able to handle the atmosphere on Tyneside.

“We knew the first few weeks away were going to be pretty special – Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle,” said Corbridge-born Bruce.

“But that’s the Premier League. The squad are still looking forward to the challenge. We’ve proved so far that we can play at this level, but we have to be at our best to do that.

“If Newcastle get a head of steam, it’s a very passionate place to play football. We have to handle that atmosphere.”