Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted that his side have had an excellent start to the season, but has stated that the St James’ Park outfit are not yet challengers for a top four finish.
The Tyneside team are unbeaten after ten games, and currently hold third place with 22 points.
Despite his team being in good form, Pardew knows that it will be difficult to break into the top four this campaign.
“Are we contenders? No. We have had a great start and shown lots of sides to our team in the last 10 games. What we have done is put some pride back into the shirt,” he told Mirror Football.
“Could that create high expectations? That is not a problem. You are underestimating the knowledge of our fans.
“I didn’t expect us to be going into this game unbeaten, that’s for sure. So, in that respect, we’ve exceeded my expectations for the team. But I honestly felt in pre-season that, potentially, we had a good side.
“I haven’t raised my targets yet. I did say that 10 games would be an indicator of what sort of team we would be, and I think that is a good barometer. But because of the next month in front of us, perhaps it gives me a little bit more breathing space to find out.
“We are obviously going into a run against the real quality sides in the division. After that, I think we’ll know a little bit more, but we’ve certainly proven we are a decent side. I really don’t sense that the supporters have unrealistic expectations.
“When I’ve been in and around fans and in and around the city, most of the people are just really pleased with the way things are going. There’s a pride, and maybe this team has gone a long way towards putting a spring back in everyone’s step in the city.
“But I don’t see people thinking we are going to be Champions League material or a top-four team. I don’t see that pressure building. Maybe it will if we are still in this position with two months of the season to go, but not at the moment, no,” he admitted.
Newcastle host Everton this Saturday at St James’ Park, and will look to build extra confidence as they have a tricky run of fixtures throughout November.
By Gareth McKnight