IT IS all change at Newcastle United’s Benton training base – and some would argue that is not before time.
Alan Pardew has been accused of tinkering too much with the team’s formation and line-ups this season, but he has a fair point when he admits making alterations is the only way to contend with systems or tactics that simply aren’t working.
That is why his coaching team have devised a new set of dead-ball strategies which will have their first airing at the Britannia tonight. Reminded of a statistic Newcastle haven’t scored from a corner since October 2011 – some 200-odd corners without a goal, incidentally – Pardew admitted Newcastle needed to improve that aspect of their game.
He said: “We’ve changed our whole outlook on set-plays, just this week.
“We’ve done it once already because we’re not getting enough success.
“There’s no point sitting on your hands and saying it’ll come good, you need to make changes.
“The bottom line is we need the first contact to be won and that’s what Stoke do well – they always get that first contact and when you get that you’ve got a better chance to score.” The constant chopping and changing – most of it down to injuries and suspensions – has also prompted Pardew to alter the “culture” of the squad.
Different players have been allocated new roles and that is what he hopes will arrest an alarming slide.
He added: “Of course it’s a concern. As a manager and as a coaching team we’ve looked at everything we’ve done.
“We’ve changed stuff that we think might help and we have to change the environment.”