Like all good card sharps, Alan Pardew knows that it is fatal to be the first to blink and give your hand away.

The way he has handled Newcastle’s rise on the pitch has been carried off equally well away from the main action.

If Liverpool do the business in the FA Cup semi-final which would almost guarantee at least Europa League involvement, Alan Pardew’s response –“..nothing left to go for but the Champions League”.

How about that for keeping things cool and making sure the pressure isn’t heaped on the players any more than it needs to be because when you are level on points with the fourth team with five matches to go….you can’t be anything but in the race for the Champions League! In his interview with the official website the manager went on to say:

The manager then goes on to explain the coded replies he was giving previously –“I have never actually ruled it out. The press kept saying to me, ‘Are you going to make the Champions League?’, and I said we were just looking to win the next game but look, it’s not gone unnoticed. This week could be important for us because if the (FA Cup) semi-final results go our way, we could be in Europe, I think. 

If that works in our favour, then really, really there is nothing left to go for but the Champions League!!!”.

I love it, I would really love it, as somebody once said.

I just love how Alan Pardew is talking about now kind of being forced to consider the Champions League qualification, as though we were say the mackems having to come to terms with fighting to finish between ninth and fourteenth….otherwise known as Premier League no man’s land!

Alan Pardew has pulled out plenty of aces this season, I’m sure he will be revealing a few more with his final hand.