WITH his squad still acclimatising to the new season, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew won’t judge how well his team have started until they have played ten games.
The Magpies have began the new campaign with a win, draw and defeat in their opening three games, while they have also sealed qualification to the Europa League with a two-legged triumph over Greek side Atromitos.
Pardew has been planning for a European campaign since their fifth place finish in the Premier League was guaranteed at the end of last season.
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However, despite embarking on their first European season in five years, Pardew insists maintaining last season’s league form is the priority.
After the opening day victory over Tottenham at St James’ Park, the Tynesiders have been brought back down to earth with the defeat at Chelsea, followed by a disappointing draw at home to Aston Villa.
Pardew admits performances have been well below par in the latter two games, but insists he won’t judge his side’s start until after their match against Liverpool on November 4.
“After ten games is when you can judge whether or not you have made a good start to the season or a bad start or just an indifferent start and at the moment we are just getting going,” said Pardew, speaking at a charity bike ride for Geoff Thomas and Stilian Petrov.
“With the European campaign, our first games in there, and with a squad who have mostly never played in Europe I think we have done really well, but in the league games performance-wise you would like to see us being a but more fluid and hopefully that will come.
“We are far from our best at the moment, but we have done okay.
“The international break does not help any of the squads or the managers to build any continuity. I look at all the teams and there is the odd game where you play well but no one has really hit top form although you could argue that Chelsea hit the road running.”
The Magpies return to action on Monday night when they travel to Everton, before beginning their Europa League campaign at Maritimo next Thursday.
Pardew is likely to play some of his younger charges in the competition to keep his more experience players fresh and the return to training of Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi has given a timely boost.
He said: “I am looking forward to seeing them out there.
They really have got a great year in front of them. They are two of our better player and have a fantastic opportunity.’’