How has Alan Pardew removed his head from the chopping block at Newcastle United?
He claims the answer is simple; he has merely tweaked his tactics and set his side up in a tried and tested system which has delivered results in the past.
If switching to 4-3-3, an approach favoured by the Magpies when they finished fifth in the Premier League back in 2011/12, is behind the upturn in fortunes, then you have to wonder why it has taken so long for Pardew to get the message.
Having become public enemy number one – knocking owner Mike Ashley from the top spot on Tyneside – Pardew faced intense calls for his removal from the dugout, with serious questions asked of his ability to generate positive results.
Just a few weeks later and all is rosy in the Toon garden once more, with performances, and more importantly points, being delivered on regular basis – with Newcastle winning their last five in all competitions.
Pardew said in the Shields Gazette: “I couldn’t be more pleased. I don’t know the stats behind the run – I’ve not really analysed them at the moment – but all I do know is we look a good side.
“We look a side that is very, very powerful, has great variation that I can change, and our system is causing teams problems. The other teams will get to grips with it, and we’ll have to ask a different question.
“We’ve played that system with some successful teams here, with different teams. We played it when we finished fifth. We played that system at the start of last year. But this team has a different make up to those two teams.
“Those teams were about possession, this team is quite happy not to have the ball. It can be just as dangerous without the ball – perhaps even more of a threat at times.”
While finding the answer to Newcastle’s recent struggles, Pardew has also pinpointed the next challenge to be faced.
Rivals will indeed ‘get to grips’ with a new-look approach and tinker with their own accordingly in an effort to clip the Magpies’ wings.
Pardew must ensure that his side remain versatile and that when questions are asked of them it takes him a matter of minutes, rather than months, in which to offer a response.