ALAN Pardew hailed Newcastle’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford as one of the highlights of his three years at St James’s Park.
Yohan Cabaye’s second-half goal gave the Magpies their first victory away to Manchester United in 41 years.
Pardew took charge at Newcastle in controversial circumstances three years ago today, and there have been highs and lows.
But Pardew feels Saturday’s historic victory at Old Trafford is special. “In terms of my three years here, I would say this is right next to us beating Man United 3-0 at home, and the Chelsea performance away when Papiss (Cisse) got that great goal,” Pardew said.
“It was so controlled. It was a pleasure to coach these players.”
Just three days earlier, Everton had won at Old Trafford by the same scoreline, and Pardew – who added Vurnon Anita to his midfield and dropped striker Shola Ameobi to the bench – felt his team had the right “psychology” to follow suit.
“I thought it was evident from the kick off,” he added. “We wouldn’t let them settle. We controlled long periods of the game. It was, in the end, about our psychology to win.
“That was evident throughout.”
Matchwinner Cabaye, Anita and Cheick Tiote won their midfield battles.
“It was tactical,” said Pardew. “We played with an extra midfield player, but you’ve got to utilise it.
“I felt that was an area we could boss, and we did. Anita kept the ball really well. I’ve got good players in the background, and I’ve got the confidence to put them in.
“Cheick and Cabaye dominated the middle of the park.”
Newcastle went close in the first half, with Tiote controlling midfield and Loic Remy always on the move to give the hosts plenty of worries.
When Evra was caught out of position, Remy slid a brilliant pass through for Mathieu Debuchy, whose thunderous first-time shot was turned away one-handed by David de Gea.
De Gea moments later repelled a close-range Debuchy header.
Manchester United improved on the restart. Krul saved from Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj before Evra met a Nani corner with purpose and sent a header bulleting against the post.
Anita had no chance to react as the rebound struck him on the hand from barely six inches.
As the ball was flashing straight across goal and the diversion helped take it away to safety, a penalty surely should have been awarded. Instead referee Andre Marriner waved play on, just as he did when Tiote cut down Evra close to the Newcastle goal-line moments later.
Newcastle capitalised on their escape to storm ahead.
Patrice Evra’s clearing header bounced back off Moussa Sissoko, allowing the Newcastle man a free run into the area, before cutting back a perfect cross to invite Cabaye’s first-time finish, albeit via slight deflection off Nemanja Vidic, from 10 yards.
In reply, Robin van Persie headed home what he thought was an equaliser. A brilliant call by assistant referee Sian Massey ruled otherwise.
MAN UTD: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva (Valencia 76), Evans, Vidic, Evra, Januzaj, Jones, Cleverley (Anderson 69), Nani (Zaha 68), van Persie, Hernandez. Subs not used: Ferdinand, Lindegaard, Young, Welbeck.
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa 83), Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (Shola Ameobi 78), Tiote, Anita, Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 57). Subs: Cisse, Gutierrez, Elliot, Obertan. Booked: Cabaye, Anita. Goals: Cabaye 61. Att: 75,233. Ref: Andre Marriner