Crystal Palace’s players on Thursday received a motivational talk from England rugby head coach Eddie Jones ahead of their season run-in.
Palace face an FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley on May 21 but before then have a further three Premier League fixtures.
Though it would take an unlikely run of results to relegate them, a return to the Championship remains a mathematical possibility, and in an attempt to maintain his team’s focus for Saturday’s trip to his former club Newcastle, Pardew invited Jones to share his experiences with Palace’s players.
“We’re still not mathematically safe in the Premier League, so we still have work to do, which is why I asked Eddie Jones to come in, and he had a few words with the team about complacency and about what teams do,” said Pardew, 54, of the coach who led England to the Grand Slam having been appointed after their Rugby World Cup failure.
“He’s been involved in World Cups with other nations, a multi-cutural personality, someone who is engaging. If they can’t take on board his comments then we’re in trouble.
“We share a couple of professional friends. (Palace sports psychologist) Jeremy Snape is one of those, and Eddie asked me about the England rugby team.
“We’ve been quite close since he’s been here, and a lot of the views he has on trying to get more from individual players and the group run parallel with my own. Trying to get the best out of his ideas is nice for me.
“It was nice to have him here: good timing, what with the result we had (defeating Watford 2-1 in Sunday’s semi-final).”
Victory for Palace at St James’ Park would edge Newcastle even closer to relegation, just 17 months after Pardew left to join Palace at a time when Newcastle appeared reasonably strong.
For all that he was an unpopular figure in the north-east, the manager insists he is “desperate” to see Newcastle survive, and believes they are an improving team again under Rafael Benitez.
“They’re a much stronger team,” said Pardew, who will monitor Wlfried Zaha before selecting his starting XI because of a leg injury the winger is carrying.
“Rafa is a very experienced manager who has managed at the top of the game, and he’s got them in a much better place to win this game, and that worries me because my job is to win this game.
“The club is a beast when it’s going well, but it can be equally as destructive when things aren’t going well. At the moment things are going well, so it’s a big bear we’ll have to fight.”