Pardew looks for competitive hitout vs Phoenix

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 14:59 24/07/2014

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Newcastle United didn't watch the Wellington Phoenix beat West Ham last night.

They might be meeting the 2-1 victors from Eden Park, at Westpac Stadium in two days' time, but the Magpies were instead enjoying what manager Alan Pardew called ''a corporate night out.''

He'll presumably get around to assessing the Phoenix at some stage. But, for Pardew, winning or worrying about the opposition isn't really what this pre-season exercise is about.

''The most important thing is that the game's played in a sensible manner [and] no-one gets injured. That's the first part we would like,'' Pardew said, after his team trained at Wellington's Newtown Park today.

''The second part is that it's competitive and that the teams are here to win and Wellington Phoenix we know will try to do that and so will we. You've got to build that winning habit.

''And the third thing is probably the result. That's the order I look at it.''

Despite being in the dark about the Phoenix, Pardew's hunch was that they can't be a team of mugs if they beat West Ham.

''Of course, because West Ham have got some fantastic players. But you never know in pre-season what they did the day before - they might've been fatigued or whatever,'' he said.

''We worked hard today, but we'll have a lighter day tomorrow so we should be in good shape [for Saturday]. No excuses from us.''

Pardew's come in to Saturday's Phoenix clash on the back of a pretty clinical 4-0 win over Sydney FC in Dunedin. Graham Arnold's Sydney side would've been disappointed with the goals they gave away at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday night, but their football impressed Pardew.

''If I was to pitch the side that I see at Sydney and the manager Graham, who's a good manager, I'd pitch them at Championship level and that's really competitive stuff.''

Pardew felt he might make one or two changes to the side that beat Sydney. But with several star players not here, he didn't believe he was in a position to be resting people.

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