Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has praised his team for the manner of the win against French side Bordeaux, in the second round of group games for this season's UEFA Europa League. The Magpies hosted the in-form Ligue 1 club and dealt a 3-0 defeat to their visitors, with Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse adding to an own goal by Bordeaux's Henrique.
"We set standards last year that we haven't reached this season - until tonight. Suddenly we looked like the team of last year, with some of our best players back to form.We were good tonight, led by Shola - the captain - who was brilliant again.We put a performance in that was right out of the top drawer against a team who were unbeaten in 17 games.The performance level was exactly what we needed," the 51 year old Englishman told the club's Web site.
Newcastle will be pleased with the win, especially after returning from Portugal (they played Maritimo in the first round of games) with only a draw despite clearly being the better team. In addition, the team has had a poor season so far, domestically too, with only one win in six games going into this one. The bright start to the season - they beat Tottenham 2-1 at home - was followed by a number of draws (1-1 v Aston Villa, 2-2 v Everton and 2-2 v Reading) and defeats (0-2 v Chelsea, 1-2 v Manchester United) highlighting an uncomfortable possibility the club overachieved last season and would struggle to match those heights this time around.
However, this win and the manner of the win will have soothed frayed nerves and self-doubts at St James' Park, including those of key midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
"We played well,'' the Frenchman explained, adding, "It was very important to get the three points tonight to get the first place in the group. Every player played well and we must have a quick turnaround because it's going to be a tough game (against Manchester United) on Sunday.''
The other good result for Newcastle was the strong performance of 23 year old Gabriel Obertan. The Frenchman signed for the Magpies last year after two unimpressive seasons with United. The France U21 international made his name with Bordeaux, with whom he spent three seasons and will be hoping his performance was enough to convince Pardew of his worth to the Tyneside club.
"This season I've only had Europa League and Capital One Cup games, so I really wanted to show the coach that I can start Premier League games.I hope he understood tonight that I really want to play and that I'm up for it," Obertan said, after a game in which he provided a wonderful assist for Ameobi's 16th minute strike.
Meanwhile, in other results, a newly resurgent Tottenham were given a last minute shock by Greek side Panathinaikos. Andre Villas-Boas' side travelled to Athens after a morale-boosting 3-2 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford (their first in 23 years) but a lack of concentration cost the London club three points, as their hosts levelled late in the game to finish 1-1.
The shock of the round, however, was Italian club Udinese beating Liverpool 3-2 at Anfield. The Reds looked as comfortable as possible for most of the game, dominating possession (they had 71 percent) and shots but failed to make those chances count. It was 1-1 going into the final 20 minutes but two goals in two minutes for the Italians sealed the Reds' fate.
Newcastle will next play United, at home, in a Premier League game (7 October). Their next European game will be at home to Belgian outfit Club Brugge, on 25 October.