Belfast Telegraph

Pardew not concerned by fixtures

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insists his team should fear no-one as they attempt to extend their remarkable run of form.

The Magpies climbed into the top five in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday evening as a result of a 1-0 victory over QPR, their fifth in succession in the league and sixth in all competitions.

That represents a remarkable turn-around for a manager who just a matter of weeks ago was facing concerted calls for his head from disgruntled fans.

The 53-year-old is keeping his feet firmly on the ground as he prepares for a December fixture list which includes clashes with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United as well as a derby showdown with Sunderland, although he is not unduly concerned by the task ahead.

Asked how important it was to have beaten QPR ahead of that tough schedule, Pardew said: "You could have argued that three games ago, four games ago.

"We had Manchester City and Liverpool and Spurs and we sailed through that, so don't look at the fixtures and think that there's anything that we can't deal with.

"It is a tough December, there's no doubt about that, but the team is in such a good place today, we were so disciplined today.

"I think anybody who recognises Premier League football and watches it on a regular basis would see that as a really powerful performance from a young team, so that was really good for us."

What was not so good for Pardew and his players was the sight of Ryan Taylor leaving the pitch in tears just 34 minutes into his first league start for 993 days, after fighting his way back from two cruciate ligament injuries.

The midfielder, who had arguably been the most influential player in the game until that point, could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when he slumped to the ground in some distress after anxiously flexing his knee, although he was able to walk to the dressing room.

By chance, the surgeon who operated on him, Richard Steadman, was among the crowd at St James' Park and accompanied him to hospital, and Taylor later allayed concerns over any significant damage via his Twitter account.

He tweeted: "Thank you all for your positive messages. I appreciate them all, just to let you know I have no major problem, and I had to come off today just to be on the safe side.

"I was just gutted to come off, that's why I got so emotional as I've worked so hard to get back. Thanks again."

The news will have allowed Pardew to enjoy his weekend after all with the manager having admitted Taylor's predicament had taken the edge of a hard-earned victory.

Newcastle enjoyed the better of the game, but were unable to make the pressure tell until 12 minutes from time when they finally broke the visitors' stubborn resistance, skipper-for-the-day Moussa Sissoko spinning on Sammy Ameobi's pass before shooting firmly past keeper Rob Green.

Substitute Papiss Cisse might have cemented the win in injury time after running on to Sissoko's beautiful reverse pass, but although his scuffed shot beat Green, former Magpie Joey Barton was able to clear before the ball crossed the line.

QPR left Tyneside bemoaning their luck after believing they were finally about to open their account away from home this season, but ultimately leaving with a sixth successive defeat which saw them slip to the foot of the table.

Defender Nedum Onuoha told the club's official website, www.qpr.co.uk: "Most of us thought we were in the game - we felt it was one of those games that was probably going to end in a draw, and then to concede when we did was a shame and we just couldn't come back from it.

"I believe we deserved a point because this is a team that had won five on the bounce and to be honest, overall we probably didn't have than many moments where we were under a great deal of pressure, so a point would have been something we were after. But it just didn't happen."

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