Alan Pardew and Massadio Haidara

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Alan Pardew believes the French Five will help Newcastle climb the Premier League table, but insists their identical homelands is purely coincidental.

Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haïdara and Moussa Sissoko have all arrived on Tyneside from across the Channel during the January transfer window, to significantly strengthen a Magpies' squad which already had a Gallic flavour.

Landing his targets has left United's boss beaming and, following a run of just two wins in 18 games in all competitions, all Pardew was concerned about was bringing some further quality to St. James' Park.

"It's nothing to do with foreign players, it's nothing to do with where a player comes from, it's just about getting good players," he explained.

"It was obvious last weekend against Reading that we needed to make changes very, very quickly and we have done that.

"There were key areas in the team which needed strengthening. Some of the transfers we have accelerated - ones we were perhaps going to do in the summer - and we have had to accelerate them because of the situation we are in and the injury problems we have had.

"The players we have brought in - without giving too much away - will add some pace to our team, some energy and energise some of the players we already have.

"We look in a lot better shape than we were six or seven days ago, and that's how it should be."

While Pardew is confident that his new players will hit the ground running ahead of an important few months at the Club, he also reckons that fresh faces have given the current crop a welcome boost.

"The most important thing for a Premier League team is competition," said the manager.

"It's not necessarily about the players who come in, it's about the effect they have on the players already here.

"There has already been an increase in the intensity level of training since the arrival of these players, and that's what we need.

"Some of our players have perhaps been playing under no pressure in terms of their performances, but we will be better with competition like this."