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Pardew happy to have players knocking on his door
ALAN PARDEW has told some of his frustrated players they will have to be patient after revealing several first-team stars have been knocking on his door desperate to start tomorrow night’s game at Swansea City.
The Magpies completed a perfect November with a 2-1 win over West Brom at St James’ Park on Saturday with four consecutive victories seeing Pardew’s side climb up to sixth in the Premier League table.
It has been a month to remember for everyone on Tyneside with wins over Chelsea and Tottenham but with Pardew reluctant to change a winning team the Magpies boss has had to make some difficult decisions to leave certain players out.
The likes of Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Vurnon Anita have all been confined to the bench, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was unlucky to drop out of the starting line-up on Saturday to accommodate Mathieu Debuchy’s return from suspension.
With the Magpies flying high after their impressive month of wins it is understandable those not in the starting XI are keen to be involved.
However, Pardew is keen to stick with the side that has impressed in the last few weeks and admits certain players will have to be patient as they wait for an opportunity.
That could well come over the next four weeks with six games crammed into a hectic festive period, but while he does not want to upset his players, the Magpies boss admits he would be disappointed if they weren’t coming to him asking to play.
Asked how he responds to people knocking on his door, Pardew said: “I just give them examples of what they have done for the club, what they have done for the team and then say they’re going to have to be patient, because it’s very hard to look a player in the eye and say, ‘If you are in the position of having won four games, would you like to be left out?’
“They accept that, but they are just frustrated and I’ve got no problem with that. I think you can knock on the door for different reasons. I think if I was a player in this situation, you are knocking on the door to really say to the manager, ‘I’m OK and I’m ready to play’.
“That was really what I had on Monday. But that’s what I expected. I would have been very disappointed if some players had not been to see me and said, ‘gaffer, what about me?’
“It has always been a problem and the bigger the club the more problems you get. It is a different set of problems from when you win to when you lose, but I’d rather be winning so they are the sort of problems I don’t mind. I don’t mind players knocking on my door and I’d take it as a real negative if they didn’t.”
Pardew’s playing career spanned across 18 years and during that time the Magpies boss remembers several times he got a taste of what it left like to be left out. The former Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic knows only too well how it feels it be missing out when your team is on a high and admits he would question his players’ commitment if they didn’t come to him asking to play.
He said: “I’ve had it all my career. I’ve had it as a player as well when I’ve been in and out of the team so I know what it feels like.
“That’s one of the beauties of playing the game. You do get an empathy with players when they are in this type of situation. When the first team are training and playing well, you might be doing well but you can’t get in the team.
“I went to see Steve Coppell a few times and also a couple times with Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt. I had plenty of words and I wasn’t happy as I had been dropped by the manager. If you can’t get angry about that then you are never going to be angry.”
Pardew’s side faces a long trip to face Swansea tomorrow night, but they will be keen to stretch their winning streak to five games at the Liberty Stadium.
Pardew is unlikely to make any changes to his team, but while a trip to Manchester United follows on Saturday, the Magpies boss is wary of making too many changes during the next few weeks.
He said: “I don’t think the spirit it affected too much but maybe the relationships in the team (if he made changes).
“The relationships within the team are maybe sometimes more important than the manager realises. I have changed teams in the past without realising the relationship certain players had – a full back and a winger for example – and how well they had worked together.
“It wasn’t until after I had changed it that I realised how well it was working and I didn’t anticipate that.”
Meanwhile, Pardew has praised striker Yoan Gouffran after he made it three consecutive games with a goal at St James’ Park.
The Frenchman wasn’t exactly a high profile signing when he arrived last January, but Pardew admits he is delighted with his contribution.
He said: “He probably had the lower profile and is on the fringes of the French squad, but he has cemented a place in the team and done very well.
“I think his personality has a lot to do with it. He is a real likeable guy, he really works hard and I think he gets the respect of all our group. He feels good that he is getting that respect and it’s making him go up a level perhaps than he has played before.
“I think he is the only player, apart from Tim, who has played every Premier League game for me. We felt when we scouted those games before we played Bordeaux that he was very impressive and that is when he came to our attention.”
n A Newcastle United development side drew 1-1 with Chelsea at St James’ Park yesterday.
Adam Campbell gave the Magpies an early lead before Jeremie Boga leveled for the Blues four minutes before the break.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew was present with no fewer than eight players with first-team experience on show.
Campbell was joined in the side by Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara, Sammy Ameobi, Gael Bigirimana, Paul Dummett and Curtis Good.
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