Pardew demands top-four form
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has demanded top-four form from his team after seeing them edge themselves six points clear of the battle for Barclays Premier League survival.
The Magpies hauled themselves into 14th place in the table as a result of a 4-2 victory over Southampton at St James' Park, their third league win in four attempts.
Pardew later revealed he had told his players they would need to rediscover the form which propelled them into the European places last season if they were to address their concerns ahead of the first game in that sequence, a 2-1 win at struggling Aston Villa, and he has been delighted with their response since.
He said: "When we went to Villa, I said to the team, 'We have got 15 games to go, we have got to be in the top four in the last 15 games', and we are, probably.
"We have had three wins out of four in that period and that has set us up nicely for the run-in now. That's the form we have got to maintain for the rest of the season.
"You look at the Premier League table and we have now put ourselves in a position to attack 10th, and that was the importance of the victory.
"It wasn't about anything else for me, and that's how I tried to get the players' mindset.
"I said to them afterwards, we should attack the top 10 now, and we can with this team.
"What a considerable difference to six weeks ago it has made, the players coming back from injury and the new players."