Pardew keeps sights on top six
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has challenged his players to keep themselves in the hunt for a top-six finish after making a major move in the transfer market.
This week's capture of Senegal international striker Papiss Demba Cisse, a deal which is understood to have cost the Magpies close to £10million, represented a statement of intent by owner Mike Ashley with the club sitting in sixth place in the Barclays Premier League table.
The manager insists Newcastle will give it everything they have got to upset the established order, and said: "The more it goes and the closer it gets to the end, I have said all along, that last six games, if we can find ourselves in with a shout, there might be less pressure on us, so we could make an impact."
He added: "We are, after 21 games, the sixth best team, and that's what we can try to improve on.
"It would be an absolute marvel if we finished sixth or fifth, but we are going to try, and see where it takes us."
Last weekend's hard-fought 1-0 win over QPR eased Pardew's men above big-spending Liverpool and left them level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal, two clubs who have spent much of the Premier League era battling it out for honours.
Asked if they are long-term targets for the Magpies, Pardew said: "Forget about long term, this season, they are in our sights, as much as we are in the sights of Aston Villa and Everton, who are not that far behind.
"You have constantly got to be on your guard, but you can't afford not to dream and aim for higher, otherwise where you fall is going to be considerably lower. We are aiming for them and we will see where we go.
"We are trying to compete against teams who are way above us financially - and I am not talking about Manchester United, I am talking about Liverpool.
"It's a huge step we are trying to bridge."