Thursday 19 April 2018

Pardew delighted by Ba response

Demba Ba, left, celebrates scoring the winner
Demba Ba, left, celebrates scoring the winner

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew praised striker Demba Ba for turning his anger into goals to kick-start the club's Barclays Premier League campaign.

Ba's double at Everton on Monday night - after he was initially left smouldering on the bench - secured an unlikely point, and his strike at St James' Park on Sunday saw off Norwich 1-0. The forward made his feelings clear after his heroics at Goodison Park, and agent Alex Gontran suggested the player would have to consider his options if he was dropped again.

Pardew said: "There has just been so much nonsense written about it. His agent sent me an e-mail saying he was misquoted, and I actually believe him. I am not usually one to believe agents that much, but I do believe him on this occasion, and I also think Demba's anger has been generated in the right way - to improve for Newcastle United."

He added: "There is no way that Demba can play every game this season. He is going to miss some other games - so will Shola [Ameobi] and so will Papiss [Cisse].

"The best thing we can do is try to play the best players we have and get a win, and Demba led from start to finish - not just his goal - in the dressing room, everything about him was top drawer."

Ba's 19th-minute strike, his fourth of the season, ultimately secured just Newcastle's second league victory of the campaign, although a series of other chances went begging with Cisse missing from the penalty spot.

Norwich, who also went close through Wes Hoolahan and Robert Snodgrass, might have been level had Steve Harper not made a vital 47th-minute block from Andrew Surman.

For Canaries boss Chris Hughton, who was given a warm welcome back to Tyneside by Newcastle fans grateful for the job he did there in the wake of relegation from the top flight, there were positives despite the ongoing wait for a first league win of the season.

He said: "It was always one that I was looking forward to. The reception was excellent and I was absolutely delighted with that.

"What I wanted it to be was an even better day, and an even better day would have been for us to get a result that I think, on the balance of play as the away team, we probably deserved."

Press Association

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