Alan Pardew has praised the defensive resilience of his Newcastle side, having conceded only four goals in seven games, as the club sit proudly in fourth place in the Barclays Premier League with a return of 15 points.
The Magpies boss paid tribute to his central defensive partnership of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor, and said the fine form of new first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul has been instrumental to the club's unbeaten start to the 2011-12 campaign.
Heading into the international break, Pardew now has time to assess his fully-fit squad, and admits he is facing something of a selection dilemma for the visit of Tottenham to St James' Park next weekend.
"That's always going to be compromised somewhere along the line, and there's no doubt that one or two players coming into the team can change the character of it quite quickly," he said.
"That was evident at Nottingham Forest [in the Carling Cup third round], when we conceded three goals - and two of them were quite sloppy ones.
"You have always got to be adaptable and always got to be ready to understand that one player can make the make-up of the team very different."
The return of injury-plagued Hatem Ben Arfa gives Pardew plenty of options, particularly in midfield, with summer signings Yohan Cabaye, Gabriel Obertan, and Sylvain Marveaux all vying for a starting berth. The manager knows he faces a delicate juggling act, but reflects on it as a welcome problem to have.
"The players are producing," he enthused. "Whichever player I put out there at the moment seems to have a bit of form about them and confidence, and that bodes well."
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