Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew believes Newcastle's league form has suffered because of their European adventure.

Newcastle United moved a point closer to safety after their 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday but manager Alan Pardew was still preaching caution with the side just six points clear of the relegation places.

Aston Villa could move level on points with Newcastle if they can delay Manchester United's title celebrations with an upset victory at Old Trafford, while Wigan Athletic also have a game in hand and could move to within three points.

With just four league games remaining Pardew was taken aback at the suggestion that he should now be confident of avoiding relegation.

"I'm not being confident, and I'm certainly not being arrogant about it," Pardew told the Guardian. "We've still got work to do, we've still got tough games to come. That's why the point today was so important. They're gold dust at this time of year, especially when you're away from home."

While Newcastle are just one win away from collecting 40 points, the figure normally associated with representing safety, Pardew remains cautious.

"I don't really want to think about what it would take to put [relegation fears] to bed. You're talking to a [former] West Ham manager who inherited a team that went down with 42 points [in 2003]," explained Pardew. "You must never take your eye off that. You've got to keep pushing. So not even a win against Liverpool would make us safe."

It has been a bitterly disappointing season for Newcastle fans, especially after the success of the last campaign. At the same stage of the season they were pushing for a top four finish while this year they have battling to steer clear of the relegation places.

Having been knocked out of the Europa League at the quarter-final stage it has been a season of disappointment for Newcastle, but Pardew feels it may have been difference had they not been playing in Europe this year.

"This was our 50th game, which goes a little bit unnoticed - 50 professional games, and all the travelling involved as well, that's tough," added Pardew.

"The Europa League is a competition that, I think, clubs will look at us at the impact that it can have, not only because of the extra games but also the injuries that we've had on the back of that. It would be naive to argue that our league position would not be greater than it is [without playing in the competition]."

Now Pardew will hope his side can ensure safety as quickly as possible so that he can begin to plan for a season where their league form is the priority.