Alan Pardew fires warning to rivals targeting Newcastle stars

Pardew fires warning to Premier League rivals targeting Newcastle stars



23:03 GMT, 23 March 2012

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has
laughed off the continued speculation surrounding his top stars and
insists that European qualification is his only worry.

Chelsea are the latest team to be
linked with Newcastle pair Demba Ba and Tim Krul this week, following
continued interest from Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and
Arsenal in Ba, Krul, Cheik Tiote and captain Fabricio Coloccini.

Impressive: Newcastle striker Demba Ba

Impressive: Newcastle striker Demba Ba

After the Andy Carroll experience, Pardew has understandably refused to go down the route of claiming Newcastle can keep their best players out of the clutches of the Barclays Premier League's bigger spenders, but he has insisted if they are sold, it will not be on the cheap.

The 35million from the sale of Carroll to Liverpool remains the perfect example of that.

Despite interest from elsewhere, Pardew still remains confident that his players want to be part of a Newcastle squad which is currently five points ahead of next week's opponents Liverpool in sixth, and just two behind Chelsea.

The Newcastle boss said: 'Speculation is part of the game and I have no problem with that. All of our best players are on long term contracts here and I think anyone who looks at this football club will know we are difficult sellers.

Focused: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew

Focused: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew

'Someone is going to have to pay a lot
of money to take one of our players away, especially considering where
we are right now and are having success.

'We have some really really good players and my focus is to ensure that they are focussed because we still have three games in the tunnel, what I call the tunnel, that period before we get to the last six games when you can see the finishing line, you can see a goal, you can see a European place or safety or survival if you are down the bottom.

'There's something you can see or smell and in this period of games, as a manager, I really have to focus my team. If we can get one win and something from the other two, or get a couple of wins, then we are really well set for the last six.

'If we do it, not just a great reward for the players but it will help attract players and that is also beneficial to our European stamp of approval. We must now focus on that and change our goals to focus on Europe.'

Costly: Andy Carroll

High price: Newcastle sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for 35m

Ba is currently on his worst run since arriving in England last January. The Senegal international has failed to score in the last five and while his new strike partner Papiss Cisse has scored three goals since his arrival, Ba has yet to find the net alongside his fellow countryman.

Ba has scored 16 goals for Newcastle this season and as they prepare for the visit to West Brom, Pardew remains confident his goalscoring touch will return.

He added: 'It's not a concern for me. If he showed any signs of lacking confidence I would be concerned but I do not see that in Demba.

'He does not get streaky periods. He has consistently knocked on the door and got a goal. There are no signs of confidence sapping, he is not that kind of character, and I think that is why he scores on a consistent basis. He will score before too long, for sure.'