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Fulham 19:45 Newcastle

Pardew - Leon is in Best form

Boss also happy with effort of central midfielders

By Hayley Paterson.   Last Updated: 17/09/11 7:30pm

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Pardew - Leon is in Best form

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Alan Pardew saluted the performance of Newcastle striker Leon Best after his goal rescued a point at Aston Villa.

Best, who is 25 on Monday, celebrated his birthday early by bagging his third goal of the current campaign.

His effort cancelled out the opener from Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor to ensure both sides remain unbeaten in the Premier League season so far.

"Leon is a guy who has been around the game a long time," said Pardew.

"He has not really had the chances at Premier League level that he feels he deserves.

"Leon has great belief in himself. He gets a start, he gets a goal, and he keeps the shirt, it's as simple as that in my book.

"I'm pleased for him and he will be in against Blackburn next week and I hope he scores again."

Buoyed

Pardew was also happy with the Magpies' overall display at Villa Park.

"I was really buoyed by our performance because when you come to Villa, you don't expect to control the game for as long as we did," he said.

"We got a grip of the central area of the pitch and Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote were outstanding.

"If we can get Cabaye on the ball, you would pay good money to watch him.

"He was beautiful today and deserved a goal and it was a fantastic save by Shay Given that kept him out. But I've got to be really pleased to get a draw here and with the performance we gave, and I felt we perhaps deserved the win.

"I thought we looked a threat the whole game and we created great chances and it bodes well for us going forward."

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