Sir Bobby’s spirit lives on as Newcastle challenge for the Champions League

LEGEND ...the late, great Sir Bobby Robson guided Newcastle into the Champions League.
LEGEND ...the late, great Sir Bobby Robson guided Newcastle into the Champions League.

ALAN Pardew has taken a leaf out of Sir Bobby Robson’s book in guiding Newcastle United back into Europe, according to John Carver.

Carver was by Sir Bobby’s side in the dugout during his tenure at St James’s Park.

Pardew’s team – who face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday looking to stay in the Premier League’s top four – could emulate Robson’s side by qualifying for the Champions League.

Newcastle United to honour Sir Bobby Robson with a statue

Newcastle, already guaranteed Europa League football, were tipped to struggle last summer after the departures of influential trio Joey Barton, Jose Enrique and Kevin Nolan, who were among the dominant figures in the dressing room during the club’s resurgence.

However, United have prospered, and assistant manager Carver, Robson’s No2, believes Pardew’s man management has played a significant part in their success this season, with other personalities having come to the fore this season.

“You can cast your mind back to when we lost Joey and Kevin,” said Carver.

“Then we talked about how some of the other players had stepped up because they might not have felt intimidated by others.

“They felt welcome and part of it here, and because of that they excelled in it.

“What the manager has done is press all of the right buttons to get the best out of all the individuals.

“That is a fine art – it’s a man management skill.

“That’s something Sir Bob had. The gaffer has came here, and he knows what makes people tick.”

While Pardew’s signings – especially high-profile trio Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Demba Cisse – have dominated the headlines, others previously on the fringes, notably Ryan Taylor, Leon Best and James Perch, have played significant roles over the course of the campaign.

“Every single player at the football club has played a part,” added Carver.

“Usually, when you do well it’s a group of 14 to 16 players, but let me tell you every single player that we’ve got on our books has contributed to the position we are in now.

“That’s remarkable. We’ve picked up one or two injuries, but the guys who have stepped in have held their own. They’ve stayed as a team because of how they have performed.”

Twitter: @milesstarforth