Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew has revealed that he will aim to strengthen the Magpies defensive front, ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.
The Tyneside outfit experienced a phenomenal season, which saw them finish ahead of Chelsea at the fifth place and ended up just four points shy of fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur in the final standings. Their league campaign got off to a remarkable start,
as they built up an eleven match unbeaten streak and lost their first game of the season against Manchester City in November.
Even though they underwent a patchy period midway through the season, their late charge enabled them to secure a Europa League berth for the first time since 2007. The Magpies won 7 out of their last 10 league games, which included victories against Chelsea
However, the Englishman believes that his side needs to improve their defensive department, in order to build on their season’s successes in the next term.
He told the club’s official website, “At the back is an area we need to strengthen. We've let in too many goals. We have to tighten up at the back.”
The Magpies finished the table at 65 points, conceded 51 league goals in total and managed to keep 15 clean sheets throughout the season. Their goal different of plus 5 was the lowest amongst the top eight teams.
Pardew opined that his side leaked out too many goals in the second half of the campaign, and they need to tighten the screws ahead of the next term, in order to make inroads in the European competition.
Newcastle suffered heavy defeats against Fulham (5-2), Tottenham Hotspur (5-0) and Wigan Athletic (4-0) since February.
“We finished with only a plus-five goal difference. We let too many in and didn't score enough to win 21 games - that's the truth of it.” Pardew added.
The 50-year old also mentioned that he will be aiming to secure 21 league wins as compared to 19 in the last season, and admitted that his side had to come out of tight corners at times.
Nevertheless, the Englishman heaped praise on his players for taking everyone by surprise with their impressive campaign and was delighted to see the Magpies finish ahead of some top flight teams in the Premier League. However, he cautioned his side not
to take their foot off the pedal, and to continue with their remarkable run in the next term.
He continued, “It's important that we don't rest on our laurels, that we understand we have taken the Club on a huge leap forward, finished above some great teams below us, and then try to improve on that."