"I still think can pass your way out of this division easily if you have the bottle to do it," he insists.
"I think we have got the players, no doubt, with Mullins joining in the centre of midfield alongside Michael Carrick - I would say it is the best midfield pairing in the division.
"I think we slipped up a little bit when Michael wasn't there, but all of a sudden it looks like we have got a thicker looking squad, and that is important because it is a long old season with 46 games."
It is two draws and a defeat for Alan Pardew since he took over but Tony insists that doesn't tell the whole story.
"The two draws were pretty tepid but that is not Alan's fault - he hasn't had time to settle in to the job yet," he says.
"But I was at Spurs the other night and I must say that although the game was criticised by a lot of the press it was played at a fast pace - and if they can play at that tempo, which they haven't done for quite some time, then it will be good.
"I thought they were excellent, charging shots down and closing people down in midfield - doing the horrible things very well.
"If they keep doing that I think they will go up alongside West Brom - that was how well I thought they did in terms of stopping the opposition playing.
"We probably created more than Spurs as well, and if you look at the players we had missing - Tomas Repka, Ian Pearce, David Connolly, Hayden Mullins - and you looked at the performance when Alan had to had to scratch about for a side I thought it was excellent.
"I was impressed with Matthew Kilgallon but I was impressed with everyone; Rob Lee had his best performance since he has been there and for me it was encouraging.
"It was dogged and 'never say die' and a performance that I haven't seen too often.
"They did the horrible things very well and that is something you have to do in this division.
"At the moment it looks like he has made his mark, though it doesn't happen overnight.
"I think you get those type of performances when any new manager comes in and Alan will make his mark gradually.
"He has already done that when we didn't have the ball and he will be working on the other side of the coin in creating more chances and getting the fluency of the passing going."