Twelve months ago Pardew said: "We need European football and the extra games because we can only play 11 players on a weekend, and we have a big squad."
Something backed by several players in recent weeks.
Sammy Ameobi, Gaël Bigirimana, Gabriel Obertan, Adam Campbell and Haris Vuckic have all admitted they are missing the competition.
Another player on the outside-looking-in is Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, and Pardew admitted it was hard to look him in the eye after leaving him out of the Newcastle United side on Saturday.
Yanga-Mbiwa dropped down to the bench to accommodate Mathieu Debuchy against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Alan Pardew: “To leave out Mapou was probably the most disappointing decision I’ve made all season.
“It really hurt me. He’s done nothing wrong, yet he finds himself on the bench.
“Probably the most disappointed player, and the one I feel for the most, was Mapou. It was tough to look that guy in the eye.
“When he came out of the team, I put him back in and he did brilliantly.
“It’s difficult at the minute to put him in front of Willo (Mike Williamson) and Colo (Fabricio Coloccini).
“That’s his natural position. Mathieu’s a natural right back. It was a tough decision.
“It’s unlucky for Steven Taylor.
“He didn’t even make the bench.
“We have got a strength in depth that we didn’t have even when we finished fifth two years ago.”