Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has lavished praise on new signing Moussa Sissoko, claiming that without the French midfielder the club wouldn't have registered their first Premier League away win of the season at Aston Villa.
Sissoko, who joined from Bordeaux last week, set up Papiss Cisse for The Toon's opener at Villa Park before Yohan Cabaye's excellent second doubled the visitors' lead.
Christian Benteke threatened to spark a second-half fight back from Villa with a 49th minute penalty, but Sissoko assisted in Newcastle holding firm to pull four points clear of the drop zone and Pardew was keen to acclaim his newest January signing.
"I don't think we would have won that game if we hadn't signed Sissoko. That is how important that signing was," Pardew said. "[The Newcastle board] did really well to get that deal over the line in time.
"I thought he was magnificent and will be a superb player for us. We were superb in the first half, as good as we have been all year, and he played a big part in that.
"I envisage him playing in a role where he can use his energy and power. I don't want to compare him to anybody but he can play all three roles in that midfield."
The result, while it assists Newcastle's own survival chances, leaves Villa in the bottom three on goal difference, and Pardew was keen to revel in the enormity of the result.
"It was the kind of performance that if someone said to me 'what would be the perfect night?', it would to be fluent, play really good football, and then show another side - battling qualities and a spirit," he added.
"We showed both sides of what you need to win a Premier League game - and then some. Villa absolutely bombarded us for 15 minutes before the end. We had to stand those bombs coming in."
Having played down talk of a possible French clique at Newcastle, with 10 players in the current squad hailing from across the English channel, Pardew says the current squad is united.
"We had a nice evening in the hotel with them last night and a really good team meeting," the former West Ham United and Southampton boss said. "There was a good feeling about them and a bit of a laugh with the French translations.
"I think it was obvious when Demba Ba went [we needed players] but the new players coming in have given us the lift we needed.
"We were superb in the first half and we played as well as we have played all year. They got an early goal and then we had to show another side as we showed real fight.
"It was lovely to see us play the football Newcastle fans want to see us play. It's been a real struggle for us so far but we've got 14 big games left."