Pardew aiming high
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has insisted he will not limit his ambition to a top-half finish in this season's Barclays Premier League.
The Magpies managed to end a difficult campaign last time around in 10th place, the minimum requirement set by owner Mike Ashley, although that was before key midfielder Yohan Cabaye was sold and not replaced in January.
But while Pardew admits the club's objectives may not change radically despite a significant summer recruitment drive, he will be looking higher than mid-table.
He said: "I don't think the target from the club will change, but that doesn't represent the target that I want my players to drive for because we want to drive for higher than that.
"I don't like setting targets myself with the team. What we do also need to understand - and I know people are saying it's desperate, that I need a fast start etc, etc after what happened at the back end of last year.
"I think that's going to be difficult because we have got a lot of new players, so I am kind of preparing myself for an even start, if I am honest, and to get stronger as we go along.
"If it's any better than that, then that will be a blessing."
Newcastle launch their campaign against reigning champions Manchester City at St James' Park on Sunday with many fans placated to an extent by their summer investment, but reserving judgement until they see how effective it proves to be.
Pardew claims to have learned from his chastening experiences at the end of the last campaign, but is adamant he will not abandon his principles as he plots a way forward.
He said: "I have learned a lot of lessons since I have been manager at this football club, and the most important lesson I have learned is that you need to be consistent with what message you are giving to your players, and I have been fairly consistent to my players ever since I have been here about how important it is.
"The results sometimes alter: you are on a winning run, you are on a losing run. But the most important thing is your principles stay the same.
"If people question those principles or question that work ethic, they won't be included in this group. This group is a strong group and I think it will work hard for Newcastle fans.
"I have learned one thing also since I have been here: that Newcastle fans want to win and they want to win every game, and that's what we are going to try to do."
Pardew will not have one of his new boys, Siem de Jong, or midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote available because of injury, but he may have one secret weapon in his armoury.
Former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback swapped Wearside for his native Tyneside during the close season, and did so having played his part in the last three of the Black Cats' four 1-0 home league victories over City in successive seasons.
Pardew said, with a smile: "Thank God for that. That's why I signed him."
He added: "The one thing about Man City is, I thought we put in one of our best performances last year and were beaten. They are that type of team, that you can be at your very best and still be beaten.
"But I do think that we are really well set for this game and hopefully, we can get some kind of result against them because obviously our record isn't great.
"With Jack in the side, obviously anything can happen!"
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