Shola Ameobi

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Alan Pardew hailed the performance of Shola Ameobi as Newcastle United saw off Norwich 2-1 on Saturday, describing the big striker as "the pick of the bunch".

First half goals from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran earned the Magpies a third-successive Barclays Premier League victory, but it was Ameobi who particularly caught the eye, with a superb display.

The long-serving front man caused problems for the Canaries defence throughout his 73 minutes on the pitch, and played a huge part in Gouffran's strike, starting the move deep inside his own half before racing into the box to head goalwards, which City keeper John Ruddy spilled.

And with the likes of Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa on the substitutes' bench, Ameobi knows he has to keep performing if he wants to remain in the side.

"We had some great performances, with Shola the pick of the bunch," United manager Alan Pardew told nufcTV.

"And that bodes well because he's having to keep Papiss and Hatem out and justify (his place), and I thought he did that today."

Saturday's three-point haul followed up victories over Chelsea and Tottenham, to push Newcastle into the division's top ten.

And while Pardew believes his side can play much better, the result was all-important.

"I thought we were really in control for the first 70 minutes and so was disappointed we didn't do better with the ball in the second half and get that third goal," he explained.

"But when they scored we suddenly had to really concentrate, and I thought we looked a little tired - some of our international guys from the travelling.

"Our agenda was set in the dressing room before the game, that we weren't getting beaten or even draw today. We had to win after beating Chelsea and Spurs.

"I can't argue with the players - they did the job. Not in the manner I would have liked but we still won.

"There's no easy game in the Premier League - our fans know that - and to win three games on the trot is very, very difficult."

To watch Alan Pardew's nufcTV post-match interview in full, click here.