By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Alan Pardew was delighted with the efforts of his younger players as Newcastle United signed off their tour of New Zealand with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.
Yoan Gouffran headed the only goal of the game for a Magpies side which started off full of internationals and established top flight stars.
But as the tight game wore on, Pardew introduced a number of rookies from the bench, and was full of praise for the way they handled themselves in a testing pre-season friendly.
"There were some good performances," the manager told nufc.co.uk following the final whistle.
"The younger players had to come on, not in a position of being 3-0 up like they were against Sydney, and had to play a very different game.
"They had to be conservative and make sure we won, and they couldn't have done that any better.
"There were some really nice cameos - Ayoze (Perez) and Arma (Adam Armstrong) in particular were outstanding for the periods they were on the pitch.
"You've got to remember this was a massive game for Wellington, and the effort and commitment they put in was unbelievable. It was a really tough game for us and a great result."
Pardew experimented with a 3-5-2 formation in the opening stages at the Westpac Stadium and believes it was an education for both him and his players ahead of the new 2014/15 campaign.
"We changed the system in the first half, just to have a look at certain things," he explained.
"It was designed for Siem (de Jong), and when he went off it didn't really work for us so we went back to our normal shape and did better after that.
"Changing players' roles is a good thing because when you are chasing games you need to be able to change your system if you're up against a brick wall.
"We wanted to look at the three centre-backs, it's all experience and we have learnt a little bit about things that will and won't work for us."