Pardew predicts strong finish
Alan Pardew believes Newcastle could be a force to be reckoned with after thumping West Ham 5-0.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 05/01/11 11:31pm
Alan Pardew believes Newcastle could be a force to be reckoned with during the second half of the season after thumping West Ham 5-0.
With top scorer Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi both injured, Pardew gave Leon Best his first Premier League start for Newcastle and the former Coventry striker marked it with a well-taken hat-trick.
Best made a £1.2million move to Newcastle a year ago and finally opened his account on his 15th appearance for the club, bagging a first-half brace before Kevin Nolan pounced on the stroke of half-time.
Best then completed his treble on the hour mark before strike partner Peter Lovenkrands scored Newcastle's fifth just three minutes later.
That wrapped up the Magpies' third win in five games under Pardew and moved them up two places to eighth.
"It was a special night tonight," Pardew told Sky Sports. "We were very, very good.
"It was a great performance from individuals but what pleases me most is the organisation of the team. There's a real structure about us and we looked solid tonight.
"If we can keep like that, not lose our way, and when we get beat make sure we react well, we could have a really good season."
A miserable run of injuries have hampered Best's progress on Tyneside but he made his first appearance of the season in Sunday's 1-0 win at Wigan.
The 24-year-old striker was then handed just his second Premier League start after appearing for Southampton in October 2004 and took full advantage.
But Pardew also paid tribute to a fine all-round display, particularly from a midfield which featured Nolan, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez and Joey Barton.
"He (Best) has been banging on my door to play and he knew over the Christmas period there was going to be an opportunity," Pardew said.
"You have to admire him because we haven't done a lot of work on the training ground because of the conditions, but he kept his focus and I could see a real hunger in his eyes.
"And he had a midfield behind him today that put in a display that was outstanding.
"He was the beneficiary of some great play, particularly from Joey Barton, who has given a performance here tonight that's as good a midfield performance as I've seen."
Tiote and Steven Taylor are doubtful for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Stevenage after being forced off against West Ham, while Carroll, Ameobi and Alan Smith are already out.
"It was a big result for us and we're really pleased because it puts us in a great position in the league," Pardew added.
"We were losing bodies left, right and centre over this period, and we lost a couple more tonight.
"We're really up against it for Stevenage so hopefully we can repair some for that game.
"It's beginning to be too much for the squad that we've got but if we can make sure the discipline of the team is the same, and that the players that come in are motivated and show the application they did tonight, we'll keep winning."