Pardew hails ´magnificent´ campaign
Alan Pardew has hailed his Newcastle United players and employers for what he described as a 'magnificent' season for the club.
A top-four finish looks unlikely for Newcastle, but is certainly not impossible, and Pardew said his side's season will be a success even if they fail to secure a Champions League spot.
"This is where you want to be, the pinnacle of the game is the Champions League," Pardew told reporters on Friday afternoon.
"To actually be competing for it is more than we imagined and to have that opportunity is something that doesn't come along very often, and we want to try to grasp it.
"It's been a magnificent achievement by everyone at this football club, and we can't wait for Sunday to unfold."
Pre-season expectations for the players were to secure a top 10 finish but, with fifth place and Europa League qualification assured, Pardew said he could never have imagined such success this campaign.
"I would be foolish if I sat here and said I thought we were going to finish fifth. The board made a good statement - top 10 - I thought that was fair," he said.
"We are well ahead of schedule in terms of players getting used to the club, used to the pitch here, which is a difficult place to play, and therefore we have had a far better season than I could have imagined."
Pardew also praised owner Mike Ashley's contribution to the club. Ashley has not always had full backing from Newcastle supporters but Pardew insisted he has made a huge contribution to the successes currently being enjoyed.
"There is an understanding that there is a budget here and we have to try to excel within the budget, and we have managed to do that," he said.
"We will still probably be on the same agenda next year. We have to be careful that if we lose a player, it's for a fee that is going to take us forward, and that we replace them with the quality that goes out of the building.
"That's something that myself, Graham Carr and my scouting team are on hand to do.
"But for Mike Ashley and (managing director) Derek (Llambias) in particular, who run the club, it has been a fantastic season, a season from which maybe fans can understand there is a game-plan here, there is a structure they can be proud of.
"I think they deserve a lot of credit."
Pardew's season was capped off on Friday when he was named Barclays Manager of the Year, and his side play Everton in their final game of the season on Sunday.