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Pardew upbeat after home win
Final Score: Newcastle United 2 Stoke City 1
ALAN PARDEW believes the only way is up for his Newcastle United side after they sealed a late victory against Stoke City yesterday.
Papiss Cisse’s stoppagetime winner fired the Magpies to 13th place in the Premier League, level with tenthplaced Fulham on 33 points, and although the magical 40- point mark has not yet been met, Pardew feels it is only a matter of time before their top-flight safety is assured.
“I think we are there now,”
declared Pardew after seeing Cisse tip the balance in Newcastle’s favour after Jon Walters’ penalty was cancelled out by Yohan Cabaye’s superb free-kick on 72 minutes.
“You have got to get 40 points and we are seven points from that but you’d expect this team to follow through with the standard it has got now to be able to do that.
“But the bigger picture is to finish strong and take it into next year and we are showing good signs now.”
Pardew branded an out-ofsorts Cisse performance as awful but admitted his relief that he came good in the 92nd minute when he collected Sylvain Marveaux’s through-ball to fire past Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
“Papiss was awful today,”
said Pardew. “He will be the first to tell you. But then the moment comes and it’s an eye of the needle pass from Marveaux.
The ball pops up and most strikers would snatch at that but he let it come down and finished it and in the 92nd minute that is not easy to do.”
Stoke were organised and had ten men behind the ball at times, and although they offered little in attack, Pardew was at least happy with his defender Steven Taylor, who gave a typically full-blooded performance at the back.
Pardew added: “I thought Steven Taylor was immense. I thought he gave a performance of England standard.
They really do need to have a look at him at centre-half as it is a problem position for England.
His performance against [Peter] Crouch and everything they threw at us. We had no height and Steven had to do everything on that side of it and he was brilliant.
“Stoke came here with great attitude and desire to win the game let alone take a point.
“We were a bit tired in the mind in the first half and that suited Stoke. Second half, we were better.
“They took the lead against the run of play at that time and we had a mountain to climb but great spirit in the group.”
It took a fine free-kick by Cabaye to level proceedings after Walters’ penalty, showing calm and class to dispatch a perfect arrow in off the crossbar from just outside the area – a goal which Pardew described as world class.
“He has been like that since he came back from that groin injury,” said Pardew of his midfielder.
“We can talk about spirit of the side to come back from a goal down but you need a world-class player to put that in the top corner, which gave us the foundation to win the game.”
Newcastle now look forward to the second leg of their Europa League tie against Anzhi on Thursday, a night that Pardew feels could be special on Tyneside.
“We are looking no further than Thursday night,” said Pardew, whose side take a 0-0 draw in Moscow into Thursday’s game. “We could have a special night. We have had to battle through too many games.
“It is too many games for a Premier League team. I’ll never change my opinion on that, but we are down to the real nitty-gritty now.”
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis admitted he was distraught at the defeat. “That’s been the story of our season away from home,” he said.
“We’ve competed well and performed better than in previous Premier League seasons, yet we keep shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Pulis, who felt Cisse should have seen red for a kick on Marc Wilson, added: “When we took the lead I felt we were comfortable, but we’re distraught at the result. The performance and effort were first class.”