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Shola Salutes Bold Boss

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Shola Ameobi set up Demba Ba's late leveller at Goodison Park, but praised Alan Pardew's role in helping Newcastle make their point

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Shola Ameobi hailed manager Alan Pardew after two brave tactical changes helped to earn Newcastle a point at Everton.

The Magpies boss had to watch Monday's match from the stand as he served the first game of his two-match touchline ban but Assistant Manager John Carver and First-Team Coach Steve Stone ensured that his instructions were carried out at Goodison Park.

United were trailing at half-time following a below par performance but improved dramatically in the second period after a switch from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 4-4-2 and substitute Demba Ba equalised three minutes after coming on.

With just two minutes left, Victor Anichebe put the hosts ahead again - but the Magpies threw caution to the wind by playing three up-front and were rewarded when fellow sub Ameobi flicked on for Ba to level matters again.

"To come away from home and stick three of us up-front like that when they'd just scored the goal was a brave decision and it's just testament to his management skills again," Ameobi told nufc.co.uk in an exclusive interview outside the dressing room.

"He's done it before and he's just proven that he knows tactically what to do and how to get the best out of the team when it's not quite going right.

"The Premier League throws up a lot of different endings and that was fantastic for us. We were dying to get back into it after a poor first half but we played well in that second half and to get back into the game like that was massive for us because it's always a tough place for us to come.

"Everton battled like they always have and obviously we were disappointed to concede that late goal but it just shows the belief that this team has.

"We didn't play too well in the first half but we rallied, got back into the game and then to concede at the end was devastating. But all the boys had the belief and it was great to get the goal at the end."

Ameobi's own role in the result was particularly satisfying in his first appearance of the season after being sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in the warm-up before the opening game of the season against Tottenham.

And he said: "I was dying to get onto the pitch. It's been a frustrating four weeks, being injured while the lads have been out there, so I was itching to get on and help the team, help the cause.

"I was delighted with the way the team responded and obviously to get an assist at the end was fantastic for me. Hopefully I can build on that and start my season properly now."

Click here to buy a Newcastle United shirt with Ameobi's name and number on the back