By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew believes the players he is now able to call upon from the bench have made a massive difference to his Newcastle United team after their third win in four league games against Southampton.
While the first-team has visibly improved in recent weeks following a host of January signings, the strength-in-depth has also became far greater.
Earlier in the season, the manager had to named inexperienced youngsters in the squad but on Sunday he had several seasoned campaigners and even a couple of full internationals among his substitutes.
The Magpies went on to win a match after conceding the first goal for the first time under Pardew against the Saints and he said: "Those stats start to improve when you've got a good team.
"The media hang them around your neck but look at our bench - it was so strong.
"We've not had a bench like that until the last three or four weeks and it's made a big difference to us.
"(Yohan) Cabaye gets dizzy and comes off, we bring on (Vurnon) Anita and (James) Perchy. We've got quality coming off the bench and if we needed a goal we had Shola (Ameobi) and (Sylvain) Marveaux in there, ready to pounce, and Gabby (Obertan), so we just look so much better. There are so many more options for myself."
Speaking to nufcTV, he added: "Our fans were great. The idea from upstairs, the French day, took a bit of edginess from the crowd, relaxed us, and the team played relaxed.
"A goal behind, we didn't panic and our quality came through."