Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew hopes bitter rivals Sunderland can retain their Premier League status – for the good of football in the North-East.
The Magpies secured their position in the top flight yesterday (Sunday) with strikes from Frenchmen Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoann Gouffran, giving the side a 2-1 victory against already relegated QPR at Loftus Road.
And Pardew wants Di Canio’s Sunderland to replicate his side’s heroics, believing it would be good for the area as a whole.
“It was a great win for the football club, and a great win for the city,” Pardew told the Shields Gazette.
“It was a great win for the area too. Sunderland got a draw, and I hope they are safe. We want to play them next year.”
Newcastle play Arsenal at St James’ Park on the final day of the Premier League campaign, and despite the Toon Army boss previously stating in yesterday’s (Sunday) post-match interview he “didn’t care” if his side lost 4-0, he insists his side will do the upmost to end the season on a high.
The game could have huge significance in the race for the Champions League places, with the Gunners and Tottenham Hotspur going head-to-head for fourth-place.
Talking to the official Newcastle website, Pardew said: “I know people will have picked up on my comments about not caring about the result against Arsenal, which were of course a joke.
"It is definitely not the case that I would be happy for us to lose 4-0 against Arsenal. Our last two results at St. James' Park - against Sunderland and Liverpool - have been nowhere near good enough, and Sunday gives us the chance to put that right.”
"We want to end the season on a positive, to finish in as high a position as possible and to give the fans something to cheer about on the final day of what has been a frustrating season. This is a game everyone at this football club wants to win.”