ALAN Pardew believes Newcastle's team spirit and togetherness is the secret to fulfilling their Champions League ambitions - and keeping the squad together in the summer.
United are in the driving seat for a top-four slot – good enough for Champions League football next term barring Chelsea winning the competition this season – after a terrific weekend.
Newcastle thrashed Stoke while other results, once again, went in their favour.
It means they are the team to beat in the Champions League race, something that Pardew puts down to the camaraderie of the group.
“There is a great feeling among our players, even Steve Harper played a key role on Saturday,” Pardew revealed.
“He is a legend in these parts Harps, and he still played a massive role behind the scenes even though he was not involved.
“There is that kind of leadership all round the squad which has got us where we are.
“I have played in a very good Crystal Palace side which finished third in this division and I had a very good side at West Ham, but I have not had the camaraderie of this group.
“I hope that means the players we have got all want to stay and we can do it all again next year because clubs will look at these players now and try and take them off our hands.
“It might be that belief and love they have for each other which will keep them here. I am hoping that we get to such a point where there is not really many places above where they can go. That is what we really want.”