Newcastle United striker Hatem Ben Arfa's secret is leaving him to own devices, reveals manager Alan Pardew
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted the secret of Hatem Ben Arfa's success has been to leave him to do his own thing when he is on the ball.
The 25-year-old Frenchman fired Newcastle into the thick of the race for Champions League qualification with a stunning individual goal which set them on their way to a fifth successive Premier League victory and left Bolton deep in the relegation mire.
Ben Arfa endured a difficult first year on Tyneside after suffering an horrendous double leg fracture in just his fourth game for the club, but has shown in recent weeks exactly why he is so highly rated on both sides of the English Channel.
Pardew, who saw the former Marseille man score a similarly impressive goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup in January, said: "I am sure it is going to be highlighted enough this week, about how many players could actually score a goal like that - and he's got two of them.
"I don't give him too much information offensively. Somebody like Hatem, you have got to let them have their world - it's his world when he has the ball.
My world is when he hasn't got it, and that's really where I have focused on him and given him the freedom to go and express himself.
"It was a fantastic goal, absolutely fantastic."
Pardew has long championed Ben Arfa's cause for a place in the France squad for the Euro 2012 finals, and if manager Laurent Blanc needs further evidence, he need only watch a replay of his 73rd-minute strike yesterday.
It came after he turned Yohan Cabaye's pass around defender Sam Ricketts inside his own half, accelerated away from Mark Davies and then raced between central defenders David Wheater and Tim Ream before calmly beating keeper Adam Bogdan.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle said: "Goals change games. There's no doubt he is a wonderful player, and that's why you spend that amount of money to bring that quality to your club, if you have it at your disposal."
Papiss Cisse's 10th goal in nine games, a close-range finish from substitute Shola Ameobi's 83rd-minute cross, was almost lost in the mix as the locals in a crowd of 52,264 enthused over Ben Arfa's contribution.
However, things might have been very different had Tim Krul not denied first Chris Eagles and then Mark Davies after the break, with Newcastle far from at their best for much of an at times dour encounter.
Coyle said: "The players have been a credit to themselves with everything that has happened at the football club in the last month, and what we have got to do now is re-charge the batteries.
"We don't play until a week on Saturday, and we will look to get a smile back on the face, get uplifted and go into six huge games in which we know we can win enough points to stay in the league."