Newcastle 2 Bolton 0: Pardew targets Champions League spot
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew says the Magpies will aim to finish in the top four after beating Bolton Wanderers on Monday
Alan Pardew has challenged Newcastle United to qualify for next season’s Champions League after the Magpies extended their winning streak against Bolton Wanderers at St James’ Park on Monday.
Newcastle struggled to manufacture any chances against a resilient Bolton defence in the first half and it took a special strike from Hatem Ben Arfa to break down the visitors’ resistance.
The 25-year-old collected the ball in the Magpies’ half and went on a spectacular run before finishing past Adam Bogdan to score the opener in the 73rd minute.
In-form Papiss Cisse then finished from close range to double the Magpies’ lead with seven minutes remaining and secure Newcastle’s fourth successive victory, leaving Pardew dreaming of a place in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
“We’re just looking to the next game,” Pardew said. “But we’re not discounting the Champions League.
“It is there in front of us but we’re having a bit of fun about it, teasing ourselves and joking about it – which is a nice way to be.
“Hopefully in three years’ time that won’t be the case, we’ll be a little bit more serious about it.
“Don’t think we’re going about it flippantly. We are going to try and win every game and see where it leads.”
It was Ben Afra seventh goal since moving to St James’ Park from Marseille in 2010, and Pardew hailed the French midfielder’s performance on Monday.
“It was a special, special goal from Ben Arfa and we needed that today,” added Pardew.
“He can make the difference in tight games and not many players are blessed with the talent he has. It was a fantastic goal.
“He did it in the FA Cup against Blackburn this year. He will probably get the coverage he deserves for that goal.
“His goal, his performance and his workrate were magnificent.”