ALAN Pardew says it again smells like team spirit at Newcastle United ahead of Chelsea’s visit to St James’s Park.
Goals from Papiss Demba Cisse and Yohan Cabaye saw Pardew’s side win 2-1 at Villa Park.
Newcastle’s first away win – in any competition – in eight months moved the club four points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Pardew celebrated the Aston Villa victory on the pitch after the game with players and staff in front of United’s jubilant travelling support.
And the scenes at the final whistle – and in the dressing room – told Pardew that the team spirit which took the club to a fifth-placed finish in the league last season remains intact.
“There’s great unity and the feeling amongst them in the dressing room was as greater feeling as I can remember at Newcastle, if I’m honest,” Pardew told the Gazette.
Pardew handed full debuts to new signings Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came off the bench late in the game.
Sissoko – who played in Cisse for his goal – caught the eye before he tired in the second half.
However, Pardew believes the club’s longer-serving players – like Fabricio Coloccini and his fit-again defensive partner Steven Taylor – will have the biggest role to play over the coming weeks and months as the club looks to close in on the 40-point mark.
“These players weren’t brought in to take the plaudits,” added Pardew.
“They’re here to help. That’s what they’re here for.
“They’re not here to save us – they’re here to help.
“The real ones who are going to save us are Coloccini, Taylor, (Tim) Krul and Shola Ameobi.
“They’re the ones that know how this club works.
“These guys came in and helped us. Sissoko and Yohan, and Mapou coming on.
“They helped us, and that’s exactly how we pencilled it in. That’s exactly what they’re here to do.”
Cabaye put Newcastle 2-0 ahead with a stunning goal on the half hour at Villa Park, and Pardew’s looking forward to seeing him form a midfield partnership with the powerful Sissoko, signed from Toulouse.
“He’s a class act,” said Pardew. “He’s going to enjoy playing with Sissoko. He’s going to protect him and give him that power and pace.
“I was very, very pleased with both of them.”