Pardew: Balance needed between offence and watching the back door
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has challenged his players to strike a balance between thrilling attack and miserly defence as they head for Everton.
The Magpies managed only half that task in their last Barclays Premier League outing and paid the price as they went down 3-2 to promoted Hull at St James’ Park despite twice taking the lead.
But as he prepares to re-introduce flair players Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Loic Remy to his team after resting them for Wednesday night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup third round victory over Leeds, Pardew knows they cannot afford a repeat if they are to return from Goodison Park with any reward.
The 52-year-old said: “What we have shown is that we have got a real offensive look about us. But we have got to make sure we are tight enough to cope with that.
“We weren’t against Hull, but in the last three or four games other than that game, we have been and that’s important.
“If we are going to have a more offensive look, then we have got to make sure the back door is shut.
“It was on Wednesday night. We got a clean sheet again and that was a good thing.”
Newcastle drew 2-2 at Goodison in September last year, thanks to a last-gasp Demba Ba equaliser, and won there two seasons earlier courtesy of a Ben Arfa piledriver.
However, the Toffees remain unbeaten in the league so far this season and Pardew is aware how tough a proposition they represent despite changing managers during the summer.
David Moyes’ departure for Manchester United opened the door for Spaniard Roberto Martinez, and he has wasted little time in making his mark on the team.
Marouane Fellaini’s decision to follow Moyes to Old Trafford cost Everton one of their most talented players, but the arrivals of James McCarthy and loan signings Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku have eased the blow.
Pardew said: “They have signed some good players and you would have to say that they have got what looks like a stronger squad than David had last year.
“Certainly the chairman there has done his bit, and they could be the surprise package of the season.”
Pardew rested six regulars for the Leeds game and Davide Santon, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko, as well as Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Remy are likely to return.
But one man who did his cause little harm in midweek was midfielder Sammy Ameobi, whose contribution down the left impressed his manager.
Pardew said: “I think that’s his best position, on the left-hand side. He gives us a natural left foot and gives us a bit more width on that side when he plays.
“There are moments where he just has to improve his final decision, and that comes from experience sometimes, but there’s no doubting his talent.”
- Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.