NEWCASTLE UNITED go into this afternoon’s game one place ahead of Southampton in the Premier League, but Alan Pardew feels his side’s achievements this season have been overlooked in comparison to the Saints’.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been lauded for their playing style and the strong English contingent in their squad with Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriquez and Rickie Lambert all in contention to make Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad this summer.
The South Coast club are in only their second season back in the top flight after an eight year hiatus, but are on course for at least a top ten finish having spent the entire season in the higher reaches of the Premier League.
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The Magpies have enjoyed a steady season themselves, though, and Pardew feels his team haven’t been given the praise they deserves, especially given the difference in resources.
Jay Rodriquez, Victor Wanyama, Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren have arrived for the combined total of £40m during the past two transfer windows, which is in stark contrast to Newcastle’s frugal spending.
Owner Mike Ashley is understood to have sanctioned several new signings this summer, but Pardew believes the fact Newcastle are ahead of Southampton suggests their game plan has worked.
“We’ve definitely spent less money than them over the last two years,” the Magpies boss said. “I don’t know if we are criticised. We are in some quarters, but the picture gets a bit cloudy with us sometimes.
“We’re a big club with 52,000 fans so that means we have to get success, but it’s very difficult to get success with the finance as it is. We’re going to stick with the game plan that we have and the structure that we have. We have a decent opportunity this summer to take this club forward because we have a good base to the squad, but we need some quality to come in.
“It’s a battle that I think both sides are looking at when you are around about each other, you want to prove that you are better (in the race for eighth). I was at Tottenham last weekend and Southampton were terrific and really should have got something out of the game. I know they are looking forward to the game as well.
“We are above them at the minute. We have had a season where we have lost a big player halfway through and we have had nowhere near the funding that Southampton have got, so in some ways, you could argue we have been battling against the tide here a little bit.”
The Magpies will look to bounce back from a heavy home defeat to Everton on Tuesday night, but Tim Krul, Loic Remy, Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon are all out.
Santon has resumed training and is closing in on a return, but Paul Dummett is likely to continue at left-back at St Mary’s today.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed a run in the team in the Italian’s absence and despite enduring a difficult night against the Toffees, Pardew insists he has been impressed by the young defender.
He said: “He had a difficult night with a player running at him all the time. He was a bit naïve with some of the positions he got into but he’s a young player and he’s learning the game.
“What I do know is that he has a fantastic attitude and application and he will only learn from that. Just like he learnt from Fulham when all his set-plays went skew-whiff. (Adam) Lallana was the same, I remember him not being able to clear the first defender with his set-plays in games, but you get that with young players and you have to stick with them and allow them to learn.
“I know Paul Dummett is a much better player than he showed the other night.
“I thought he reacted well after Fulham when he did not have his greatest game, but his running stats were unbelievable against Crystal Palace. He has one great engine for a full-back. He just keeps going.
“He has a great mentality. It is quite simple. He does not over-complicate things in his brain, that's for sure."