ALAN Pardew says his in-form Newcastle United side can’t be compared to the team that finished fifth in the Premier League.
Pardew’s team climbed up to eighth in the table before the international break.
And a victory over Queens Park Rangers at St James’s Park this afternoon could lift the club further up the league.
Newcastle qualified for the Europa League three seasons ago and there are hopes that Pardew’s rejuvenated side can again challenge for a European place after four successive league wins.
A number of the players from that season, among them Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Cisse, Steven Taylor and Tim Krul, remain at the club.
But Pardew – who has fielded a number of young players this term – feels the two teams are very different.
“It’s a different squad,” said Pardew.
“It hasn’t got the experience of that team. Possession was the key to that team, and this is slightly different. We can still win games not controlling the game in terms of possession.
“We have some real assets in the team in terms of pace and exuberance.”
Newcastle went into the QPR game looking to extend a fine defensive record.
United – who are in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup – haven’t conceded in 342 minutes in all competitions.
And defensive solidly has made all the difference to Pardew’s team in recent weeks.
“Both teams had a good defence,” said Pardew.
– MILES STARFORTH