Pardew: Newcastle are not far from being a good side

The Toon Army have won only once in their last eight games, but their manager has insisted his side are improving and will not suffer from Europa League fatigue against Fulham
Alan Pardew insisted Newcastle have regained momentum ahead of Monday’s away trip to Fulham, despite Thursday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Bordeaux in the Europa League.

The loss in France followed the Magpies’ 3-0 win against Wigan, which had ended a run of four consecutive league defeats and eight matches in all competitions without a win.

Pardew believes his club have improved from their run of poor form, which has coincided with a series of absences including that of Yohan Cabaye until next year.

"We are not far away from being a good side," Pardew told The Chronicle.

"We have put a new resilience in the team. The team has a little bit more drive in it, a little bit more energy."

Hatem Ben Arfa is set to be given a late fitness test on a hamstring injury ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage, though Pardew urged his winger to commit to Newcastle's new identity.

"Hatem needs to come in and understand there is a different look to the team," the 51-year-old continued.

"I do not care if he’s fit or not, he needs to bring that in if he comes in against Fulham or Manchester City."

Pardew opted to field a young side against Bordeaux, and does not believe his side will suffer from a European hangover due to the extra day of rest they have been afforded.

"The Europa League has had no impact on us this week because of the extra day," the Magpies' boss added.

"That extra day is massive – huge. If fans do not understand how important it is, they have to trust me. My stats tell me everything I need to know about my players.

"They cannot physically reach that level with two and a half days’ rest. Extra rest gives us an opportunity, and I protected the team on Thursday."