Tue, 29 Jan 2013 23:27:00 – Alan Pardew paid tribute to Newcastle United's board after the signing of five players this month spurred them on to a vital 2-1 win over relegation rivals Aston Villa at Villa Park.
New arrivals Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy all started and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came on as a substitute as Newcastle recorded their first away win of the campaign.
Pardew thanked the club's board for freeing up the cash to sign them - and then heaped particular praise on French midfielder Sissoko, whose sublime pass set up Papiss Cisse's opening goal.
Pardew said: "There has been a lot of work and effort to get that win, not just from the staff and the players, but the directors and [Newcastle managing director] Derek Llambias.
"It was obvious when Demba Ba went, in the position we were in, it was a blow to the personality of the team. But the new players have given us a lift.
"Sissoko was magnificent in the first half. He is going to be a powerful player in the Premier League.
"Sissoko made a difference today with his power and control, and he helped Papiss, who has been a bit isolated, especially since Demba [Ba] left.
"I have always had my eye on him. That's a nice little aperitif that he showed tonight."
Cisse's strike was followed by a brilliant goal from Yohan Cabaye as Newcastle enjoyed one of their best halves of football of the season so far.
However, Villa fought back superbly in the second half and the visitors were forced to hang on for victory.
"In the first half we were magnificent," Pardew added. "We would have given anyone a game with that performance. We played as well as we have played all year.
"In the second half, we had to show another side to our game - to battle, to fight - and everybody played their part.
"We were disappointed to give a goal away after three minutes. It knocked us a little bit. We haven't won for a while, so we were a bit rash with our clearances."
Despite the victory, Pardew insisted his side are still a long way from being out of relegation danger.
He is confident of escaping the drop, though, and believes Villa will also be safe.
"Fair play to Villa," Pardew said. "They got clapped off at the end - and quite right. They gave it everything. I don't think they will go down. They have got too much quality.
"But it was our day today. It is by far not over for us. We have got 14 cup finals to come, but it's a start."
A brace from Paddy Madden sent 10-man Dons - who won away to Premier League side QPR on Saturday - to their first defeat in 2013, with the visitors having goalscorer Antony Kay dismissed in the second half.
After referee Mick Russell gave the thumbs-up to a late Huish Park pitch inspection in Somerset, it was the hosts who dominated the opening exchanges of the League One encounter.
On-loan midfielder Matthew Dolan's low drive was saved before Madden fired wide.
The Glovers, who were playing their first game since January 12, took a deserved lead on 25 minutes when Kevin Dawson found Irish compatriot Madden, who swept home to notch his 12th goal of the season.
The visitors struck back 10 minutes later when Kay rose unmarked to head Shaun Williams' corner past Marek Stech.
Kay was shown a straight red card shortly after the hour mark for an off-the-ball clash with Madden - sparking an ugly confrontation between both sets of players.
However, Madden had the last laugh in the 78th minute by grabbing his sixth goal in three games to keep his side within touching distance of the top six.