Premier League

Pardew eyes top-ten finish

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Sun, 10 Mar 2013 19:21:00

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew says his side will now look to challenge for a top-half finish but admits they were fortunate against Stoke City.

Stoke took the lead at St James' Park through a Jon Walters penalty just after the hour, but Newcastle won it 2-1 thanks to Yohan Cabaye and a last-gasp strike from Papiss Cisse, and are now 13th in the table.

"It was a very important win for us, because it jumps us right up the Premier League and gives us a chance to attack the top ten," Pardew told Sky Sports.

"But we were fortunate in some ways, Stoke came here and were excellent today and that was as good a defensive display as you will see.

"They stopped us playing and made it very difficult and we kept plugging away, asking different questions and in the end it was a pass through the eye of the needle from [Sylvain] Marveaux that got us the goal."

Pardew was full of praise for Marveaux, who he says is unlucky not to be in the team after returning from injury.

"The team has done well in his absence and he is knocking on the door and he sparked us in that last little bit and it was massive," he said.

"Stoke were a threat all afternoon from set plays, they are giants and you have to be big and strong which we were and I thought Steven Taylor was England standard today. It is a brilliant win for us - a massive win."

Pardew said his team took 45 minutes to get going following the trip to Russia earlier in the week when they faced Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.

"Sometimes it is not physical, but a mental tiredness and I thought we were slow. But I thought we brightened up," said Pardew.

The Newcastle boss now hopes that his side can have a big night against Anzhi on Thursday.

"It has been a cold week and we all have our thermals still on and hopefully we will warm up for Thursday. This will set us up and I hope our fans respond and we have a big night and performance."

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