Danny Guthrie

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

 

Alan Pardew was full of praise for Magpies duo Danny Guthrie and Leon Best following Sunday's 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.

While Best's fourth goal of the season - which proved to be the only one of the game - will deservedly grab all the headlines, the sight of a fit-again Guthrie dominating the middle of the park was a more-than-welcome sight.

The inclusion of the pair for Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote - who are on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations - were the only changes from Newcastle's last Premier League fixture, when they memorably beat Manchester United.

And Pardew believes that with Best and Guthrie's confidence sky high, United can continue to pick up victories over the coming weeks.

"You have got to remember a lot of the players we had out on the pitch today did the job last year at the back end, and were terrific for us," said the manager.

"Guthrie has come away with the bottle (of champagne) as the Man of the Match, and Best has got a goal, so that will only give them confidence to go forward.

"We find ourselves sixth above Liverpool after 21 games, not because of what happened today. We are there because we deserve to be there and it's about the next period of games.

"They are very, very important for us because if we can get a couple of wins while our two boys are performing at the African Nations, we are going to get a hell of a boost when they come back. Then we will see what we can do."

Best's 37th-minute strike was his first goal since mid-September, when he netted away at Aston Villa.

And the boss believes finding the back of the net again will do him the world of good.

"He has had a good season, Leon Best, for us, but he hasn't got the goals he got last year, so that goal will be very, very important to him," said Pardew.

"He only had one real chance and he finished it with real confidence, so that will be good for him going forward."