Newcastle manager Alan Pardew praised his side for a “champagne” display in their 3-1 victory at West Brom. Forwards Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa were particularly influential as the Magpies moved level on points with fifth-placed Chelsea.
“Today it was champagne stuff,” Pardew told BBC Sport. “Demba, Papiss and Ben Arfa are a real front three. We’ve been phenomenal all year, the players have worked so hard and deserve all the plaudits they get.”
Newcastle’s recent victory over Norwich was their first win in five matches, and the improvement continued at West Brom. Cisse put them in front on six minutes from Ben Arfa’s cross before Ben Arfa doubled the lead with a superb team goal.
It was 3-0 on 34 minutes when Ben Arfa and Ba combined to set up Cisse for his second as the Magpies took total control.
A defensive mix-up allowed substitute Shane Long to pull one back, but Newcastle held on and could have scored more.
“First half, we played some really fantastic stuff, I said before the game that at the training ground there was a new buoyancy after the win against Norwich.
We had chances to get the fourth goal, we knew that would seal it and that was my half-time message. But we managed to see it out. This is a tough place to come and they’ve won with something to spare.”
Pardew replaced Chris Hughton as Newcastle boss in December 2010 and guided the club to 12th last season. Having already acquired Ben Arfa from Marseille for £2m in January 2011, he signed Ba on a free transfer from West Ham in the summer.
The Senegalese has scored 16 leagues goals this term – the most by a Newcastle player since Alan Shearer’s 22 in 2003-04. Yohan Cabaye arrived in July and has played a key role in central midfield, while Cisse joined for £9m from Freiburg in January.
He matches striker Les Ferdinand as the quickest Newcastle player in Premier League history to reach five goals (six games). “With players like we have at the top of the pitch you’re going to score goals,” Pardew added.
“You don’t amass those points without quality.”