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Pardew happy with Newcastle ´drive´

Alan Pardew believes Newcastle have regained momentum ahead of Monday’s away trip to Fulham.

The Magpies suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Bordeaux in the Europa League last Thursday, which came after the club’s 3-0 win against Wigan which had ended a run of four consecutive Premier League defeats and eight matches in all competitions without a victory.

Pardew says his club have improved from their run of poor form, which has coincided with a series of absences including that of Yohan Cabaye until next year.

“We are not far away from being a good side,” Pardew said.

“We have put a new resilience in the team. The team has a little bit more drive in it, a little bit more energy.”

Hatem Ben Arfa is set to be given a late fitness test on a hamstring injury ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage, though Pardew urged his winger to commit to Newcastle’s new identity.

“Hatem needs to come in and understand there is a different look to the team,” the 51-year-old said.

“I do not care if he’s fit or not, he needs to bring that in if he comes in against Fulham or Manchester City.”

Pardew opted to field a young side against Bordeaux, and does not believe his side will suffer from a European hangover due to the extra day of rest they have been afforded.

“The Europa League has had no impact on us this week because of the extra day,” the Magpies boss said.

“That extra day is massive – huge. If fans do not understand how important it is, they have to trust me. My stats tell me everything I need to know about my players.

“They cannot physically reach that level with two and a half days’ rest. Extra rest gives us an opportunity, and I protected the team on Thursday.”

Mon 10 December, 2012
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