Pardew aiming for 'special' end to wonderful Newcastle campaign
22:44 GMT, 21 April 2012
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has promised an all-out assault on Champions League qualification in a bid for a 'special' end to an outstanding season.
The Magpies climbed to within three points of third-placed Arsenal with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Stoke which left them four points clear of Chelsea in sixth.
They head for relegation-threatened Wigan next weekend knowing victory there would ensure a potentially thrilling conclusion to the campaign with Manchester City due on Tyneside either side of trips to Chelsea and Everton.
Double delight: Yohan Cabaye bagged two goals in a strong Newcastle display
The win over Stoke – their sixth in succession – will be enough to secure European football for next season if the Toffees do not match the feat at leaders Manchester United tomorrow.
Pardew said: 'That is a big, big achievement by us, make no mistake. I am pretty sure Liverpool can't catch us and to finish above them, regardless of their cup exploits, is still outstanding.
'Whatever we do now, it's an outstanding season. But of course, we haven't lost sight of what the city hasn't lost sight of.
'You can feel it in the crowd, you can feel it in the city, that there's a chance for us to do something really special, and we will go to Wigan and try to achieve that.'
Frenchman Yohan Cabaye was the architect of Newcastle's latest success as the Magpies ripped into Stoke.
It was he who set the ball rolling when he headed home from close range after Papiss Cisse had powered Hatem Ben Arfa's cross against the crossbar.
But the France international returned the favour within four minutes with a beautiful through-ball which allowed the Senegal international to shoot first-time past keeper Asmir Begovic for his 11th goal in 10 games.
Promise: Alan Pardew is expecting big things in the coming weeks
Victory was secured within 12 minutes of the restart when Cabaye curled an inch-perfect shot past Begovic and into the bottom corner, and Newcastle might have won even more comfortably had the Bosnian not made two fine saves in quick succession from Cheick Tiote at the death.
Pardew said of Cabaye's display: 'They were two great goals, but perhaps the pass was better than the goals.
'I was on the sideline and I didn't even see that run, and he was having to manoeuvre the ball with players left, right and centre of him.
'To find that pass was exquisite – it was still a great finish, by the way, but that will go down as one of the best passes I have seen at this stadium.'
Asked if his team is now the one to beat in the race for the Champions League, Pardew replied: 'We have got momentum and it's a dangerous tool to have in your locker.
'We are playing with confidence, we have got ourselves in a fantastic position – perhaps even better than we thought we might be in – and the confidence was there for everyone to see on the pitch today.
'Everybody is contributing. This isn't about one player or one person, it's a combination of a lot of things that have gone on at this football club from [owner] Mike Ashley down, and everybody deserves the credit they are getting.
Red hot: Papiss Cisse cannot stop scoring at the moment
'Having said that, there are still four games to go and they are always the most important the closer you get to the end.
'To win six on the trot is truly outstanding by the players. They will get a few plaudits this week and they deserve them.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was left to reflect on missed opportunities, although in truth, the Magpies could have won even more handsomely.
He said: 'Jon Walters really could have scored a hat-trick by himself. The main difference was they got in good scoring opportunities and hit the target; we got in good scoring opportunities and we didn't hit the target.
'I don't think their keeper had a save to make. I am not picking on Jon – Jon has been fantastic for us. He's a great lad and he kept going and kept going.
'But he had three great chances today by himself, never mind the rest of the team.'