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But before the Toon manager sets his sights on next year’s campaign, he knows his side must focus on the present as they seek to confirm their Premier League survival

Alan Pardew is challenging his Newcastle squad to avenge Sunday’s dismal 3-0 home loss to Sunderland by finishing above them next season.

Paolo Di Canio enjoyed his first victory in charge of the Black Cats in emphatic style at St James' Park, with goals from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan piling misery on the Toon.

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But Pardew, whose side sit just two points clear of their Wearside rivals, has urged the club to look to next season to exact retribution.

“Next year we have to prove that we’re a bigger and better club,” he told the Evening Chronicle.

"That's in terms of our Premier League position by finishing well above them [Sunderland]. That's what we are going to try to do next year."

But despite his long-term ambitions, Pardew admits that Newcastle are not out of the woods yet in this season's relegation battle, with his side perched just five points clear of the drop zone.

"First we've got to make sure we play well in the last five games with good, solid performances," he added.

The former Southampton manager had previously blamed his side’s European duties for their lacklustre performance at the weekend.

But now with a clear schedule, Pardew is looking forward to integrating the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Mathieu Debuchy and Cheikh Tiote back into full training.

"We certainly can do a week's work with Hatem and Debuchy, who had his first game [since being injured], and Cheikh," he said.

 "We'll do more work with him. We'll give a rest to some of the other guys."

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