Newcastle Utd boss wants two wins from festive fixtures

Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa
Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa

ALAN Pardew is targeting two wins from Newcastle United’s tough festive programme.

Pardew’s side face Queens Park Rangers today needing a victory to pull away from the Premier League’s relegation zone.

And he also believes Newcastle, just two points above the bottom three, need a win from from the three following games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton.

Pardew – who hopes to strengthen his squad in next month’s transfer window – will have to do it without influential trio Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Steven Taylor.

If United can somehow pull away from trouble over the coming weeks, Pardew’s confident their return – and one or more new signings – can ensure the club has a better second half to the season.

“Forget about new transfers – there are some serious players coming back in January,” Pardew said.

“We’ll have Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, which will help me pick the team.

“But I have four Premier League games, and a FA Cup tie (against Brighton and Hove Albion) to get through without them.

“We need one, maybe two wins, six or seven points out of that. This is what we need to aim for.”

Pardew has been heartened by the performances, if not the results, of his team in recent weeks.

He felt Newcastle took the game to champions Manchester City in the second half of last week’s 3-1 defeat at St James’s Park.

And Pardew, believing fortune favours the brave, is calling on his players to take risks on the ball over the coming games.

“We just think the stats so back up that we are playing better,” he added.

“The stats proved we had 40-odd passes more than City, who are a very fluid team.

“That goes into the stats from the previous three games. We have had more shots on target than the opposition, something we didn’t have against West Ham, Swansea and some other games.

“We are starting to get the right sort of feeling. I though we were brave in the second-half like we did, 2-0 down to the champions, and we got a reward for that.

“And there is a message for the players – you do need to take risks to win games in the Premier League.

“You need to be bold, as we were in the second-half last week, and we got a reward for it, if not a win.

“I could put being bold into a number of aspects of a football match. It could be making a forward run, a forward pass or it could be in terms of positional play at defending.

“But if you get edge and negative, and starting thinking about not getting into certain positions, then you’re in trouble.

“We did that a little against City, for 20 minutes, when we looked in awe of them. That’s what the top teams want.”